Two dead, dozens injured as bus crashes on way to assist flood cleanup in Louisiana
By Vivian Kuo and Steve Visser
(CNN) — A charter bus full of workers headed to the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, flooding cleanup crashed Sunday morning, killing two people and injuring dozens, police said, adding that the driver was unlicensed.
The driver was Denis Yasmir Amaya Rodriguez, an illegal immigrant from Honduras, Louisiana State Police Trooper Melissa Matey said.
One of those killed was St. John the Baptist Parish Fire District Chief Spencer Chauvin, Matey said.
The wreck happened at 6:40 a.m when the black charter bus came up on a blocked crash scene on Interstate 10 where Chauvin and two firefighters were assisting at a minor accident near LaPlace, Louisiana, just west of New Orleans by Lake Pontchartrain.
“The bus driver lost control of the bus, struck a fire truck, veered across the right lane, striking other vehicles, then veered and struck three firefighters, who, all three, were thrown over the guard rail,” Matey said.
Chauvin was taken to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead, she said.
The second fatality was an unidentified person who was sitting in the backseat of a Toyota Camry when the bus struck the car, police said.
Two other people in the Camry and five people in a pickup truck that was also hit while parked at the scene were transported to hospitals with minor to moderate injuries, Matey said.
There were 35-40 people on the charter bus who were also transported to local hospitals with minor to moderate injuries.
Six other people were airlifted to trauma hospitals in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Matey said.
One of the St. John the Baptist Parish firefighters is in critical but stable condition, while the other has moderate injuries, Matey said.
It’s not known who chartered the bus, Matey said.
The road was wet from light rain, but troopers who are investigating the crash don’t know yet if weather was the main cause of the accident, Matey said.
Westbound Interstate 10 was closed while investigators cleared the scene, police said.