Victim’s Voice: Mother wants answers following son’s fatal crash

ZACHARY – Nearly six months have passed since John Daniels was killed in an accident and his mother is still grieving and upset at what followed her son’s death.

Daniels was involved in a three-vehicle crash that happened on Nov. 12 at the intersection of US 61 and LA 64 in East Baton Rouge Parish.

The investigation showed that Edward Frank was driving a Toyota Tundra south on US 61 at a high speed. At the same time, Daniels’ Nissan Maxima was stopped behind a Toyota Prius at a traffic light southbound on US 61.

The Tundra rear-ended Daniels forcing a crash between the Maxmia and the Prius. Despite wearing a seatbelt, Daniels died at the scene.

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Frank was arrested several days later and booked on negligent homicide, negligent injuring, careless operation, and speeding. His bond was set at $27,500. He bonded out on Nov. 17.

According to the crash report filed by Louisiana State Police, Frank told police he had just left a friend’s house, was feeling tired, and was going to stop at a store. The report says Frank told himself “I should stop” but then thought he was almost there. Frank told police the last thing he remembered before the crash was seeing traffic lights, although he didn’t know what the color the lights were.

The crash report says Frank initially told police he would voluntarily submit a blood sample but when he got to the hospital, he told police he didn’t feel comfortable submitting blood and he refused to give a sample.

State police obtained an Event Data Recorder (EDR) for Frank’s vehicle. An EDR is a device installed in a motor vehicle to record technical vehicle and occupant information for a brief period before, during, and after a crash.

According to the crash report, the EDR showed Frank was traveling 85 to 86 miles per hour five seconds before the crash. At impact, Frank was allegedly traveling 79 mph, the report says. The speed limit is 65 mph.

Daniels’ mother Casey Fruge said she is still waiting on some sort of closure in her son’s death.

“He was arrested and he was arraigned,” Fruge said of Frank. “That was days after he killed John. The few people that I’ve gotten to talk to said he (Frank) was distraught that he had hurt somebody. I asked the police at the time, did you take a blood sample? They were like ‘No, he offered to give it, then he refused.’ How do you get to refuse when someone passed away?”

Fruge said authorities told her Frank passed field sobriety tests and there were no open containers.

“They felt the need to take blood from my son and the driver of the other vehicle, but they didn’t take it from him,” Fruge said. “When they did arrest him, they arrested him on a Thursday, almost a week afterward, so there was nothing that could be judged at that point in time. I don’t know how to move on without some kind of answer. I don’t know if anybody can answer any of these questions.”

Lack of updates on her son’s case coupled with just the fact of losing him has been tough every day, Fruge said.

“Every day is a horrible struggle because he was taken,” she said. “I know it wasn’t on purpose but he was a good boy who was going to Southern to be a nurse. He was loved by so many people. Everybody liked him. He was just so friendly and he loved all of his nieces and nephews. It’s just heart-wrenching for me to know that somebody’s just still walking around. If there is a law that states they don’t have to give blood even if someone was killed, I’d like to know. If there is a law, why is it like that? How can they say that they didn’t need to give blood? He killed somebody and he injured somebody else.”

A state police spokesperson said as of May 10, there isn’t an update on the case.

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