Tuesday evening, Massachusetts State Police said that John LaChapelle, 44, of Tiverton, died when he was trapped in his 1999 GMC pickup truck that caught fire when it was struck by a wrong-way driver. He was declared dead at the accident scene.
His passenger, Kim LaChapelle, also of Tiverton, escaped the pickup with what police report to be minor injuries.
Mass. State Police to Route 24 north of Exit 16 in West Bridgewater at 3:55 a.m. Sunday after receiving calls from other motorists reporting a wrong-way driver travelling south on the northbound side of Route 24.
On arrival patrols found four vehicles involved, the wrong way vehicle and three others it had struck, one of which had burst into flames.
Debris from the impact was thrown across both sides of the highway, necessitating the closure of the entire highway.
The suspected wrong-way operator, Lisa Banat, 19, of Mansfield was driving a 2010 Toyota Corolla. The Corolla rolled over after striking the pickup truck head on, and then may have been struck by another vehicle. Ms. Banat suffered severe injuries and was pronounced dead on-scene.
The third vehicle involved was a 2002 Chevy Tahoe operated by Kevin Alexander, 36, from Fall River. He was transported to Good Samaritan Hospital in Brockton with non-life threatening injuries.
The fourth vehicle was a 2003 Chevy Cavalier operated by Richard Carreira, 66, of Swansea. He was also transported to Good Samaritan for evaluation of possible minor injuries.
The circumstances of the crash, including why and how the Corolla’s driver got onto Route 24 going the wrong way, remain under investigation by Troop D of the State Police and its Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section.
Born in Fall River, Mr. LaChapelle was the son of John A. Lachapelle Sr. and Ann D. (Cavaca) Lachapelle of Tiverton.
He was a carbon fiber technician for Hall Inc. in Bristol. An avid NASCAR enthusiast, he also enjoyed motorcycle riding. His family says he will be remembered for having a heart of gold and for his many acts of community service.
Including his wife and parents, survivors include a daughter, Courtney Ann Lachapelle of Tiverton.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Potter Funeral Home, 81 Reed Road, Westport.
To sign the on-line guest book, please visit www.potterfuneralservice.com.