ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH — Officials now confirm seven people have died after a large and chaotic vehicle pileup with 158 vehicles.
Multiple agencies responded to Interstate 55 where nearly 100 vehicles were involved in the pileup in the southbound lanes with several more vehicles on the northbound side of the bridge. I-55 remains shut down at this time.
At least 25 people were transported to area hospitals on both the north and southshore.
Heavy fog mixed with a lifting smoke over Interstate 55 triggered a fiery crash and then the pileup around 8:40 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 23. Louisiana State Police troopers have shut down I-55 at mile marker 22 from Ruddock to Manchac and drivers are urged to avoid the area.
Pictures coming into Unfiltered with Kiran from drivers stuck in the pileup show that a driver could only see what’s a few feet in front of them that the fog and smoke was so intense.
One driver, who asked for their name not be published, described the scene to UWK:
“It’s super foggy. It’s literally five cars in front of me. As of now, we’re told there are several cars with numerous fatalities. They said to get comfortable and that you would be here a while. I’m thanking my lucky stars I wasn’t a minute before because I would have been in the middle of it. There have been six fire trucks and the fire chief here for 30 minutes, and it’s starting to cleared out now. It’s a bad scene. The fog is getting thicker. I only see three cars in front of me now. The accident was only 50-100 yards in front of me, but I couldn’t see it. It’s backed up to Ponchatoula and closed interstate to mile marker 22.”
Another driver caught in the wreck, George Singer, spoke to UWK saying:
“8:59 is when we stopped. basically what happened we get word from people in the southbound lanes there was an accident. i figured people slowed down to look at the wreck and caused that wreck. it happened so fast and just a massive car pileup. most people were driving with no lights. it was such a dense fog and it felt like a thick smoke. I was driving 45 mph and that’s when I came up upon it. We turned around at 12pm. It was just chaotic because nobody could get to anybody but the police did the absolute best that they could.”
Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the scene including State Police, St. James, Tangipahoa, St. John the Baptist, Acadian, Wildlife and Fisheries and volunteer firefighters. Plus, some of the people stuck in the pileup went into action as soon as the pileup happened.