PONCHATOULA — It was a drive that Qutub Singh Negi made from his home in Ponchatoula to his job in Kenner down Interstate 55 daily.
Usually though, Negi, 40, left around 11 a.m. to get to work at the Punjabi Dhaba in Kenner as the chef. On Monday, however, he left earlier to fulfill some catering orders.
Negi was on I-55 when the “super fog” triggered a fiery crash and ultimately led to a pileup with 158 vehicles. Seven people in total died, according to Louisiana State Police, and another 25 people were rushed to area hospitals.
I-55 remains closed in both directions as officials clear the fiery wreckage and DOTD inspects the integrity of the interstate.
“Yesterday, he left early and nobody heard from him after that but we did not think anything of it,” said the family’s spokesperson Raj Pannu. “Around 2-2:30 p.m., the sheriff’s office knocked on his door and told his wife, ‘Your husband is in the hospital and is critical.’ She rushed to the hospital along with other friends but they could not revive him. He had serious head injuries and by 5 p.m., he was declared unresponsive and dead,” said Pannu.
Negi just celebrated his 15th wedding anniversary with his wife a few days ago. He leaves behind his wife and their two children: a 14-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter.
Negi is originally from New Delhi, India, and he came to United States in 2016. He came to Hammond in 2021 and had been the executive chef at the Kenner location of Punjabi Dhaba for the last 2.5 years.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help his family if you would like to donate: Donate here