- Associated Press - Thursday, November 26, 2015

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Louisiana State Police say two highway wrecks killed five people in the opening hours of the Thanksgiving weekend.

An Abbeville man and his nephew died when their motorcycles ran into a tractor-trailer Wednesday evening in Iberia Parish, Trooper Melissa Matey said in a news release.

Gerald Mitchell, 25, and his uncle, Jones Mitchell, 45, both of Abbeville, were heading west on Louisiana Highway 14 and the big rig turned into their path. They died in spite of wearing helmets, Matey said.

She said the crash is still being investigated, and the Iberia Parish district attorney will decide whether to bring charges.

Matey said that shortly after 2 a.m. Thursday, a 2012 Jaguar XF ran off the Parish Road 11 in Port Sulphur, hit a tree and burst into flames. The driver and two passengers were unable to escape and will be identified through autopsies, she said.

Matey said investigators found that speed contributed to the crash, which remains under investigation.

“While our heartfelt condolences go out to the grieving families this holiday, we urge that everyone remember the importance of simple safety precautions while traveling,” said Col. Mike Edmonson, head of state police. “No matter your destination, please always pay attention behind the wheel, obey all traffic laws, never drive impaired, and always buckle up.”

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