ST. TAMMANY PARISH, La. – A truck driver has been charged in a Friday morning, July 9, truck accident that killed four people on a highway in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. The deadly collision occurred on Interstate 59, north of Slidell near Pearl River, LA and a few miles from the Mississippi border. The truck accident area is in the far southeast section of the state, about 40 miles northeast of New Orleans, LA and about 65 miles west of Biloxi, MS.
At about 9:00 a.m. Friday morning, 37 year old Juan Torres of Montgomery, Texas was driving a 2003 Freightliner semi trailer truck north on Interstate 59. The truck bore the logo and markings of Texas International Express LLC, based in Humble, TX.
As Mr. Torres was driving through St. Tammany Parish near Pearl River the left front tire on his 18 wheeler truck blew out and caused him to lose control of his rig. The tractor trailer crossed over the median of the interstate and entered the southbound lanes of the highway, directly in the path of oncoming traffic. The semi trailer truck slammed head-on into the driver’s side of a 2003 Dodge Ram pickup truck driven by 57 year old Daniel Dickson of Carriere, MS.
After the initial impact of the collision the semi tractor trailer and the pickup truck both skidded across the interstate and ran off the road. Both vehicles finally came to a stop in the trees growing along the west side of I-59. Three of the pickup’s occupants were thrown from the vehicle during the crash.
Debris from the truck accident flew through the air striking at least one other vehicle traveling on the interstate, a 2005 Mercedes driven by 39 year old Jessica Garcia of Gretna, LA, damaging her windshield.
Louisiana State Police and area emergency personnel responded to the scene of the truck accident. They found that the driver of the Dodge pickup, Mr. Dickson, suffered fatal injuries in the collision and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The three passengers in the Dodge also were fatally injured and died at the scene of the truck accident. Two of the victims were identified as 76 year old Evan Farrugia and 35 year old Thomas Farrugia III, of Carriere, MS. The third victim was not identified.
The truck driver, Mr. Torres, sustained minor injuries in the truck accident and was taken to a hospital for treatment. Authorities also ran a toxicology test on the truck driver. The tests are being reviewed at the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab and the results have not been released at this time. They do not believe alcohol was a factor in the deadly crash.
LSP Officers reconstructing the truck accident have determined that the truck driver was wearing his seat belt, but three people in the Dodge pickup were not wearing safety restraints. Commercial trucking investigators are trying to determine if the tractor trailer truck had all necessary equipment and that it was installed and working at the time of the collision.
The truck driver has been charged with Careless Operation of a Vehicle and four counts of Negligent Homicide. He was arrested and taken to the St. Tammany Parish Jail.
The truck accident remains under investigation.
For more information about Louisiana trucking laws, truck injury causes and victims rights, contact nationwide truck accident lawyers Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP for expert advice. For a free initial consultation, talk to a La truck accident lawyer at 800.773.6770.