BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Interstate 10 over the Atchafalaya River basin has reopened Saturday after a fiery four-truck crash killed two people Friday evening.
State police Trooper Greg Marchand said Ricky and Karen Chester, a husband and wife from Xenia, Ohio, died in the crash. For reasons troopers are still investigating, 56-year-old Ricky Chester didn’t stop when he encountered a traffic backup traveling eastbound, and his 18-wheeler hit the back of another. Two more trucks were rear-ended in a chain reaction. The trailer of the first truck that Chester hit fell over the railing of the elevated highway to the ground.
Darren Robinson, a 44-year-old Baton Rouge resident who was driving the truck whose trailer went over the railing, suffered minor injuries. The other two truck drivers were not injured.
The Chesters’ truck caught fire, as did the next truck up the chain from Robinson. The Chesters died at the scene. Because of the fire, police couldn’t say if either was seat-belted at the time of the crash or if Ricky Chester was intoxicated. The other drivers were not intoxicated.
The highway linking Lafayette and Baton Rouge remained closed until Saturday, prompting delays and a detour using U.S. 190 through Opelousas. Marchand said debris had to be removed and the bridge inspected for safety before it could be reopened. Police kept the westbound side closed so a crane could be used to remove debris.
Westbound I-10 reopened before noon Saturday, while eastbound I-10 didn’t reopen until about 3 p.m.
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