- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

MANDEVILLE, La. (AP) - Lake Pontchartrain Causeway officials said the driver of a garbage truck that slammed another truck into the lake has told investigators an aerosol can rolled under the brake pedal and kept him from stopping.

The other vehicle was a safety truck guarding a work convoy. Its driver, 57-year-old Edward Burton of New Orleans, was killed.

Bridge general manager Carlton Dufrechou told The New Orleans Advocate (https://bit.ly/13IL1Rp ) that divers recovered Burton’s body just after 5 p.m. Monday.

Burton’s vehicle, called an attenuator truck or a crash cushion truck, is built to withstand an impact and protect the slow-moving convoy from accidents.

Co-workers leaped into the water to help Burton but he never surfaced, Dufrechou said. The rescuers were pulled from the water by Causeway workers.

The southbound span was closed for several hours while the wreck was cleared.

The name of the garbage truck driver has not been released, but Dufrechou said he may face charges.

The work convoy was marked with police lights and the safety truck, and notices of the work were posted on message boards along the Causeway, Dufrechou said.

After hitting the attenuator truck, the garbage truck struck a Causeway police cruiser and came to rest on its side, Dufrechou said.

The driver was pinned inside the garbage truck. After being freed, he was examined on the scene but not hospitalized. Dufrechou described him as “extremely distraught.”

Investigators do not believe the garbage truck was speeding when the accident happened.

Causeway officials have said they are worried about an increasing number of accidents on the nearly 60-year-old span in which vehicles go into the lake.

Monday’s was the 13th overboard accident since 1994, the 10th resulting in a fatality.

Causeway officials said they are pursuing federal and state grant funding and have floated the idea of raising tolls on the bridge to pay for safety devices.

The nearly 24-mile-long Causeway has two spans. The southbound one - originally one lane in both directions - opened in 1956. A parallel northbound bridge opened in 1968.


Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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