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Police identify 13-year-old girl killed in massive pileup crash on old bridge Tuesday

3 years 3 months 3 weeks ago Tuesday, February 23 2021 Feb 23, 2021 February 23, 2021 8:07 AM February 23, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - A teen is dead after a massive pile-up on the old Mississippi River Bridge Tuesday morning.

The crash was first reported around 8:30 a.m. on US 190 in the lanes heading into East Baton Rouge. State Police said the crash involved at least 15 vehicles, including several large trucks. 

Shortly after the wreck, officials said one person was airlifted and another person was left trapped. Hours later, police confirmed that a 13-year-old girl, identified as Janaria James of Plaquemine, died in the crash.

Police said the car James was riding in was struck from behind by a tractor-trailer. Police are still investigating why the truck driver was unable to stop before striking the other vehicle.

Several other people were treated at the scene or taken to hospitals with moderate injuries.

Officials shut down the highway between LA 1 and US 61 until around 2 p.m..

It was a close call for Archie Trahan and Sherry Richard, who came out of the wreckage unscathed.

"We were fortunate. All we got was bump," Trahan said.

Passenger cars were crushed by 18-wheelers as those vehicles collided into the back of each other.

"I looked in my rearview mirror and saw an 18-wheeler coming down the road sideways. Another 18-wheeler hit him in the back and forced it into everybody," Trahan said.

Trahan said he heard the teenage girl calling for help after she was trapped inside the vehicle by the truck.

"I cried a few minutes up here when I heard her, because she did speak to me a few minutes before she passed away," he said.

The couple said the highway department needs to do more to warn drivers when there's traffic building at the bottom of the bridge.

"I really believe if we had some kind of warning on this bridge saying that there was a train on the tracks, maybe these 18-wheelers would have enough time to slow down and people would know that there's traffic stopped."

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