GROSSE TETE, LA – Four people were killed early Friday morning, April 9, when a tractor trailer traveling eastbound on Interstate 10 sideswiped another 18 wheeler that was parked on the shoulder, lost control, then crossed the median onto the westbound side into oncoming traffic and crashed head on into another big rig and an SUV. All three vehicles then burst into flames.
The fatal semi truck accident happened just east of the Louisiana Highway 77 interchange about 5:00 a.m. on April 9, 2010 near the Grosse Tete exit on the westbound side at mile marker 140.
Grosse Tete is located in southern Louisiana about 19 miles west of Baton Rouge, about 97 miles northwest of New Orleans, about 98 miles southeast of Alexandria and about 223 miles southeast of Shreveport.
Police Officer, Russell Kiger, 37 years old from Baton Rouge, LA was one of the victims who was killed in the accident. Kiger was a two-year veteran of the Baton Rouge police department. Also killed was his cousin, Jacob A. Kiger, 38 years old from Denham Springs, LA. Both were traveling in the SUV during the crash.
The drivers of the big rigs involved in the crash were also killed. Mark Woodard, 34 years old from Denham Springs was the driver of the eastbound 18-wheeler and Fredy Guerra, 52 years old from Edinburg, TX was the driver of the westbound semi-truck. Both drivers died in the accident.
A 15-year-old girl who was riding in the sleeper cab of Woodard’s 18-wheeler was asleep at the time the crash. Miraculously, she received only minor injuries and was taken to the hospital after the accident.
The driver of the broken-down tractor trailer that was parked on the shoulder of the road on the eastbound side of the I-10 was 48 year-old Jose Ramirez. He was in his sleeper cab asleep at the time and was not injured in the accident. State Police cited him for failure to properly display warning devices for a disabled vehicle on the shoulder.
The accident caused a huge fire. Local officials say it was one of the worst such accidents in recent history. The flames were too hot for rescuers to get close or to be able to find out how many people were involved at first. It took about 45 minutes to an hour for the fire to be fully extinguished.
Below is a Google street view of the Interstate just before the Grosse Tete exit on the westbound side where the fiery inferno took place. You can see the green exit sign like in the photo above.
The crash tied up westbound traffic for miles. Both westbound lanes were blocked to divert traffic to U.S. 190 at La. 415 in Port Allen.
About nine hours after the wreck after 2:30 p.m., westbound Interstate 10 traffic lanes were reopened when the remaining wreckage and debris was finally cleared from the roadway.
For more information about Louisiana trucking laws, truck injury causes and victims rights, contact nationwide truck accident attorneys Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP for expert advice. For a free initial consultation, talk to a LA truck accident lawyer at 800.773.6770.