Louisiana State Police officials are reporting today that a man that was a passenger in a vehicle that crash in St. Martin Parish on July 31 has died.

According to Troop I spokesman, Trooper Thomas Gossen, neither the driver nor passenger was wearing a seatbelt when the car slammed into a ditch on Louisiana Highway 31. The car first hit an embankment, then a tree, and finally the ditch.

Both men, 23-year-old Stephen T. Boutte and 23-year-old Deandre L. James were taken to area hospitals for treatment. James was in critical condition, but Gossen says they were notified the man had died. The driver of the vehicle was Boutte, and Gossen says routine toxicology tests will be run based on samples taken from him at the time of the crash.

What we do know for certain at this time is that neither one had their seat belt in usage, and Boutte's car ran off the road for an unknown reason.

Gosses says this was the forty-fourth death in the Troop I area this year, and this is the thirty-fifth fatal crash. He says drivers need to make safety their number priority when they are behind the wheel. He says you should fasten your seat belt, and you should make everyone in your car do the same. In addition, Gossen says you need to remove all distractions from your driving. If you are too tired to drive, don't do it. The trooper says these are conversations you need to have with your loved ones.

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