Authorities identify 80-year-old driver in fiery crash that killed four on I-12 last month
UPDATE - Authorities have identified the driver in the fiery crash on I-12 that killed four people on May 26.
On Monday the St. Tammany Parish Coroner identified the driver as 80-year-old Elmer Laporte of Edinburg, Texas. The coroner says Laporte died of blunt force trauma and fire-related injuries.
ST. TAMMANY PARISH - Four people were killed in a 10-vehicle crash on I-12 Saturday afternoon.
According to Louisiana State Police, the crash occurred around 4:00 p.m. on I-12 east at LA 21.
Through the initial investigation, State Police determined that traffic was stopped or slowing down to a stop on I-12 east at LA 21 due to congestion.
An 18-wheeler hauling avocados was traveling in the right lane on I-12 approaching the traffic congestion. The 18-wheeler, for unknown reasons, was unable to stop started a chain reaction crash with nine other vehicles, according to State Police.
The 18-wheeler jackknifed during the crash, causing it and three other vehicles to catch on fire. The driver of the 18-wheeler died on the scene and a positive identification has yet to be confirmed.
A 2014 Lexus IS350 was struck by the 18-wheeler during the crash. The driver and passenger, Yoland Simmons and Keland Simmons of Baton Rouge, were pronounced dead at the scene.
A 1997 Toyota 4Runner was also struck during the crash and the driver, Rachel Lehmann of Mandeville, was taken to the hospital where she later died.
Several people were taken to local hospitals with minor to moderate injuries, including a St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office deputy. Those people injured are expected to make a full recovery.
Impairment has not yet been determined and toxicology results are pending. After being closed for hours, I-12 East reopened around 2:00 a.m. Sunday.
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