Sunday, September 11, 2016

Third Person Dies in Louisiana Bus, Fire Truck Crash; bus driven by illegal immigrant from Honduras, w/o license

Crash near LaPlace killed a fire chief and two other people
Fri, Sep 2, 2016

Tow truck operator Lee Maguire helps clean up the scene of a fatal wreck on Interstate 10 near Laplace on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016. A bus full of construction workers, seen, hit a firetruck on an elevated highway Sunday, killing 3 people and injuring dozens, several of them seriously, Louisiana State Police said. (Chris Granger/ The Times-Picayune via AP)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Mississippi man died Thursday from injuries suffered when a bus carrying people seeking flood recovery work in south Louisiana hit a fire truck and other vehicles on an elevated highway west of New Orleans.

State police said Vontarous Kelly, 33, of Moss Point, was the third person to die as a result of Sunday's accident on Interstate 10.

Kelly was a passenger in a car driven by Jermaine Starr of Moss Point, who died after the crash. Also killed was a St. John the Baptist Parish fire chief, Spencer Chauvin.

More than 30 others were injured.

Gov. John Bel Edwards on Thursday ordered that U.S. and state flags over the state Capitol be flown at half-staff until sunset on Friday to honor Chauvin, whose funeral was Thursday.

"By all accounts, District Chief Chauvin was a courageous hero who never missed an opportunity to save a life or have the back of one of his fellow first responders," said Edwards.

State police are investigating the crash. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is taking the lead in investigating the owners of the bus, AM Party Bus and Kristina's Transportation LLC.

Bond is set at $1.1 million for the man accused of driving the bus, Denis Yasmir Amaya Rodriguez, 37, a Honduran immigrant. State police say he entered the country illegally and did not have a driver's license.

The fire truck that was hit by the bus was stopped on the highway to block traffic while state police investigated an earlier wreck.


Two killed in Louisiana bus crash, driver in US illegally, cops say

Published August 29, 2016

At least 2 people killed in Louisiana bus crash  

An out-of-control bus driven by an illegal immigrant carrying flood recovery volunteers hit a fire truck and firefighters who had responded to an earlier crash Sunday morning on a Louisiana interstate, killing two people and injuring 36, according to state police.

The ladder truck from St. John the Baptist Parish, located west of New Orleans, had parked across the right lane of Interstate 10 to block traffic while police investigated an earlier crash involving a pickup truck that had skidded on the wet road, crashing into both guardrails about 6:40 a.m., Trooper Melissa Matey told local media.

The bus hit the fire truck, then hit a car, and then veered behind the fire truck and into the pickup truck, knocking three firefighters who were standing near the guard rail into the water below, Matey said.

Matey said the driver, identified as Denis Yasmir Amaya Rodriguez, 37, of Honduras, was an employee of that company.

"He is in this country illegally from Honduras. He has no driver's license. He had minor injuries," she said.

Rodriguez will be booked in the St. John the Baptist jail and will be charged with two counts of negligent homicide, reckless operation, and no driver's license, Fox 8 reported. Police told the television station that additional charges are forthcoming.

Matey said the wreck killed Jermaine Starr, 21, of Moss Point, Mississippi, a back-seat passenger in the Camry, and St. John the Baptist Parish district Fire Chief Spencer Chauvin. The injured included the other two firefighters, the bus driver, 24 bus passengers and a total of nine people in the car and pickups.

Firefighter Nicholas Saale, 32, of Ponchatoula, and Camry passenger Vontravous Kelly of Moss Point, Mississippi, are in critical condition, she said. The Camry's other two occupants, driver Marcus Tate, 35, and David Jones, both of Moss Point, are in serious condition.

Other injuries — including the Titan's two occupants, who suffered minor injuries in the original crash — ranged from minor to moderate, Matey said.

Matey said the bus was taking flood recovery workers from New Orleans to Baton Rouge and belonged to a company with two names: AM Party Bus and Kristina's Transportation LLC, both at the same address in Jefferson, about 30 miles from New Orleans in Jefferson Parish, Matey said.

No listing in Jefferson was available. A call by the Associated Press to Kristina's Transportation in Destrehan, 12 miles from Jefferson in St. Charles Parish, was not answered Sunday. A woman who answered the phone at AM Party Bus of New Orleans told the AP was only authorized to take booking calls.

“This is a very sad day for all first responders in Louisiana,” Colonel Mike Edmonson, Louisiana State Police Superintendent said in a statement obtained by Fox 8. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the St. John the Baptist Fire Department. Louisiana has the “Move Over” law in place to protect our first responders on our roadways. Please adhere to this law and slow down when approaching emergency vehicles and disabled vehicles on the road.”