Jamie Dakota Howell, a pipeline worker living at the Cajun Country Campground, died Tuesday night, March 16, in an accident involving a Honda side-by-side all terrain vehicle (ATV). The 26-year-old Columbia, La., resident has been working at a job in the area.
After his work dayshift ended, Howell took a ride in his personal ATV through a sugarcane field near Rosedale Road 3 miles west of La. Hwy. 415 just outside Lobdell, according to West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office Traffic Supervisor Lt. Ken Albarez. At around dusk, he came to a canal in the field but evidently failed to see the edge of the bank or the canal. Evidence indicates he drove the ATV into the water, flipped it and died on impact.
A nearby resident heard the noise, went to investigate and dove into the water to try to rescue Howell to no avail. Albarez said it is estimated the incident occurred around 7:45 p.m. The ATV was equipped with a safety belt, but Howell was not wearing it. Albarez said wearing the safety belt is required. In addition, Howell was not wearing a helmet, which is optional under the law.
“It’s a tragedy,” Albarez said. “ATV drivers should avail themselves to any safety and restraint equipment available when riding their vehicles. If it has a seatbelt, wear it. And I encourage drivers to wear helmets, too.”
According to Albarez, there is no reason at this time in the investigation to believe Howell might have been under the influence of anything. Howell is survived by his wife, two young children and his parents.