PORT ALLEN – State Police released new information about a chain-reaction crash that left a central Louisiana man dead, killed when his small car was crushed by two 18-wheelers and engulfed in flames Wednesday.
Ronald Allen, 26, of Alexandria, was killed. Allen's car was rear-ended by a semi then pushed into the back of another tractor trailer. The collision caused a fire that burned both Allen's vehicle and both 18-wheelers. Allen's car was unrecognizable when it was pulled from the wreckage.
The resulting fire burned for about an hour and closed both sides of I-10 for most of Wednesday evening. The crash happened on I-10 Eastbound near the La. 415 exit. Traffic was blocked there on both sides, and congestion built back to the Basin Bridge on I-10 East and through Baton Rouge on I-10 West. It took all of Wednesday night and into early Thursday morning for traffic to clear once lanes were open.
The preliminary investigation reports the driver of the semi that caused the wreck, Harvey Harris, 48, of Arkansas, didn't stop as he approached the regular eastbound gridlock seen each night on I-10 East in West Baton Rouge. Police said Harris rear-ended a pickup, which was knocked off the road, and continued to plow into Allen's vehicle eventually stopping once the semi and small car were wedged into the back of the other 18-wheeler. The impact of the collision also pushed the second big rig into another pickup.
In addition to leaving Allen dead, the wreck also sent six other people to the hospital.
While battling the inferno, fire crews had to call for more assistance – at one point, asking for any available fire trucks on the westside.
State highway authorities said while the road was damaged due to the fire and the wreckage, it was safe to drive on. Inspectors checked out the highway Thursday morning. Click HERE to read more about the road surface report.
State Police said the crash remains under investigation and charges are pending.
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