A domino effect of colliding 18-wheelers and pickup trucks shut down the infamous portion of I-10 Eastbound just before the 415/Lobdell exit in West Baton Rouge for five hours Tuesday afternoon. The big rig wreck resulted in one injury and a lot of headaches for commuters.
A truck owned by Prime Trucking and driven by William Myers, 25, failed to stop around 3:30 p.m. as traffic began to back up before the bridge.
Myers slammed into six vehicles before coming to a stop, tossing his passenger around, resulting in a broken leg, according to the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office. Myers' big rig bounced off of three pickup trucks then hit two 18-wheelers before coming to a stop, Lt. Ken Albarez with the WBRSO Traffic Division said.
The interstate shut down for approximately 20 minutes then funneled to one lane for five hours as crews worked to clear the road of debris. The first 18-wheeler, a flatbed carrying scaffolding equipment, lost its entire load, Albarez said. The second big rig disabled upon impact, blocking portions of the interstate, but did not lose any of the avocados it was carrying.
Myers was transporting a commercial air conditioner on the flatbed of the 18-wheeler, which did not come off of the truck.
The Sheriff's Office cited Myers for careless operation of a motor vehicle.
In the five-hours of clean-up, the Interstate backed up approximately 10 miles to Grosse Tete. Drivers told Lt. Albarez it took them two hours to get those 10 miles down I-10 East. The backup led to two other minor wrecks and several stalled vehicles, which ran out of gas waiting in traffic, Lt. Albarez said.
While this is not the first wreck of 2019 on the stretch, it is the first caused by the notorious Mississippi River bridge back-up. There is catastrophic damage and injury due to bridge backup every year because I-10 reduces down to one lane, Lt. Albarez said. He called the particular stretch before the bridge “the Devil’s Triangle” in previous interviews.