ALBANY, LA — Louisiana State Police Troop A investigated a three-vehicle crash yesterday that claimed the life of a Department of Public Safety (DPS) Police Officer. The crash occurred on Interstate 12 westbound, west of LA 43 in Livingston Parish shortly before 6:00 pm.
Troopers’ preliminary investigation revealed that John Kendall, 64, of Baton Rouge was driving a 2005 Chevrolet Impala (DPS Police unit) east on I-12 when he ran off the road to the left, crossed the median, and entered the westbound lanes of I-12. The police unit struck a westbound 2007 Chevrolet “dually” pickup, being driven by Shane Kleynhans, 50, of Denham Springs. The pickup also struck a westbound 2006 International tractor-trailer. After impact with the pickup, Kendall, who was not restrained when the crash occurred, was ejected from his unit and sustained fatal injuries. Kleynhans sustained minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital for treatment.
Troopers do not suspect alcohol to have played a factor in the crash. However, they have submitted samples of Kendall’s and Kleynhans’ blood to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for chemical analysis. The driver of the 18-wheeler, Jose L. Couvertier, 40, of Westwego, voluntarily submitted a breath sample to Troopers that showed he had no detectable alcohol in his system. The crash remains under investigation as Troopers are trying to determine what caused Kendall to run off the roadway.
DPS Corporal John Kendall was a retired Sergeant with the Louisiana State Police and served with DPS Police Capital Detail since 2003. His son is also a retired State Trooper from Troop L.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Corporal Kendall’s family,” said Colonel Mike Edmonson, State Police Superintendent. This man was a great law enforcement officer and he dedicated his life to the service of the citizens of Louisiana. He was a wonderful example of the integrity and honor that this badge stands for. He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.”
This is the third fatal crash in less than a week in which the driver was unrestrained and killed. State Police will continue an aggressive education and enforcement campaign in order to continue to raise awareness across the state. Anyone driving or riding in a motor vehicle in Louisiana, regardless of seating position, is required to be properly restrained. Even as Troopers and DPS Officers mourn the loss of one of their own, they hope that his tragic death may serve as an eye-opener to others of the importance of seat belt use.