Police confirm third victim dead following I-10 bus crash near Laplace
LAPLACE – Louisiana State Police confirm that a third person has died as the result of crash involving a party bus and a fire truck on I-10 that injured dozens on Sunday.
According to State Police, 33-year-old Vontarous Kelly of Moss Point, MS succumbed to his injuries on Thursday morning while in being treated in an area hospital. Two others, St. John the Baptist Fire Department District Chief Spencer Chauvin and 21-year-old Jermaine Starr of Moss Point, MS.
Governor John Bel Edwards has ordered that flags are to be flown at half staff until sunset on Friday in honor of the life of Fire Chief Chauvin.
According to Louisiana State Police, firefighters had already responding to a separate vehicle crash around 6:40 a.m. on I-10 west when the deadly crash occurred.
Around 7:17 a.m., a party bus, driven by 37-year-old Denis Yasmir Amaya Rodriguez, struck one of the firetrucks, causing the bus to strike a Toyota Camry that was in turn pushed into a Chevrolet Silverado and flatbed trailer.
Before coming to a rest, the bus struck three firefighters who were then thrown over a guardrail, falling 30-40 feet into the water below.
St. John the Baptist Fire Department District Chief Spencer Chauvin was transported to River Parishes Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. Firefighter Nicholas Saale, 32, was airlifted to University Medical Center with critical injuries. The third firefighter, 35-year-old William Mack Beal was transported with moderate injuries.
The driver of the Camry, 35-year-old Marcus Tate was airlifted to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital with serious injuries. Two passengers in the Camry, Vontrayous Kelly and David Jones were taken to University Medical Center. Kelly is in critical condition Sunday and Jones is in serious condition. One other passenger, Jermaine Starr was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the Silverado, Emiliano Ascosta, and passengers Solma Almendarez, Jenyfer Espinal and two 10-year-old juveniles were transported with minor to moderate injuries.
All 24 passengers on the party bus were also transported to local hospitals with minor to moderate injuries. The 24 passengers were previously described as flood relief volunteers, but LSP spokesperson Melissa Matey later said the passengers were workers.
In total, Acadian Ambulance Services say 41 patients were transported from the scene.
Matey says troopers are investigating who Amaya was working for or if he is self employed.
Investigators say Amaya did not have a driver's license and was not authorized to drive the bus. Amaya had also entered the United States illegally.
Homeland Security Investigations is assisting Louisiana State Police with the investigation. Spokesperson Bryan Cox for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the agency "is aware of the situation."