Two dead, 41 hurt in bus crash involving
Louisiana flood: relief volunteers
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[August 29, 2016]
(Reuters) - A bus with an unlicensed
driver spun out of control near New Orleans on Sunday, killing two
people and injuring 41, while taking volunteers to help with Louisiana
flood relief, officials said.
St. John the Baptist Fire District Chief Spencer Chauvin was among those
killed in the early morning crash after the chartered bus slammed into
him as he tried to help victims of another accident, Louisiana State
Police spokeswoman Melissa Matey told reporters at a news conference.
Two other firefighters were injured in the crash, one critically, and a
passenger in another vehicle struck by the bus died at the scene, the
The driver, who was unauthorized to drive a commercial vehicle, was in
custody and would be booked on suspicion of negligent homicide, reckless
driving and driving without a license, Matey said.
"All three firemen were thrown over the guard rail and into the water
below," Matey said.
The incident started when a speeding pickup truck spun out of control,
bouncing from one side of the road to the other before coming to rest
along the right lane and shoulder of Interstate 10 near the community of
Laplace, about 25 miles (40 km) northwest of New Orleans, Matey said.
The firefighters and state police troopers were on scene to investigate
when the bus, also out of control, slammed into the fire truck and a
Toyota Camry, Matey said. Jermaine Starr, a passenger in the Camry, was
pronounced dead at the scene.
It was not immediately clear why the bus driver, Denis Yasmir Amaya
Rodriguez, 37, lost control.
Rodriguez, who is from Honduras, was in the United States illegally and
Homeland Security officials are assisting the state in its
investigation, Matey said.
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A private rental bus involved in a multiple car accident which
killed two people is seen in a picture released by the Louisiana
State Police. Louisiana State Police/Handout via Reuters
The Acadian Ambulance Service said on Twitter it had taken 38 people
to hospitals and that a second ambulance company had transported
three to hospitals.
Matey said at the news conference that most of the injuries to the
24 people on the bus were minor to moderate.
The bus, filled with volunteers to help residents recover from
massive flooding in Louisiana earlier this month, was traveling
westbound on Interstate 10 when it crashed into the fire truck and
another vehicle, the television station and other media reported.
As many as 60,600 homes were reported damaged or destroyed in
flooding that ravaged 20 parishes, or counties, in the southern part
of Louisiana. About 3,000 residents were still living in shelters as
of Aug. 22, officials said last week.
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, California; Editing by
Alan Crosby and Bill Trott)
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