Iberville Parish — Friday evening around 5:00 PM, Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop A responded to a fiery fatality crash involving four 18-wheelers on Interstate 10 eastbound on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge. The crash claimed the lives of a married couple from Ohio and shut down the interstate in both directions. The westbound lanes of Interstate 10 were reopened at approximately 11:00am this morning; however, the eastbound lanes remain closed as emergency crews continue the investigation and cleanup process.
Preliminary investigation revealed that a 2007 International 18 wheeler, operated by Ricky Chester (W/M 56) of Ohio, a 2014 Freightliner, operated by Darren Robinson (B/M 44) of Baton Rouge, a 2003 Freightliner, operated by Bernadin Rojas-Soriano (O/M 43) of New Jersey, and a 2013 Kenworth, operated by Derrick Moss (W/M 24) of Mississippi, were traveling eastbound on I-10 in the right lane of the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge near mile marker 127. Chester, for reasons under investigation, failed to stop with traffic congestion and the front of the International struck the rear of Robinson’s Freightliner pushing it forward into the rear of Rojas-Soriano’s Freightliner which was also pushed forward into the rear of the Kenworth.
During the crash Robinson’s Freightliner’s trailer dislodged, traveled over the guardrail, and fell to the ground below. The other 18-wheelers came to rest in the roadway completely blocking I-10 eastbound. As a result of the crash, the International and Rojas-Soriano’s trailer caught on fire and quickly became fully engulfed in flames sending smoke billowing over both directions of I-10.
Ricky Chester and his passenger, wife Karen Chester, received fatal injuries and were pronounced dead on the scene by the Iberville Parish Coroner's office. Due to the extent of the fire, restraint use by the Chesters is unknown at this time and toxicology analysis is pending an autopsy. Robinson received minor injuries. Bernadin Rojas-Soriano and Moss were not injured. Robinson, Bernadin-Soriano, and Moss were restrained and all voluntarily submitted to a breath alcohol test with no detectable alcohol found in their systems.
All I-10 eastbound traffic is being diverted to I-49 north to US 190. Motorists are urged to drive courteous, watch for stopped vehicles, and use caution. Motorists should follow and like the Louisiana State Police Facebook Page at www.Facebook/LouisianaStatePolice, subscribe to Nixle alerts at www.Nixle.com and choose Louisiana State Police as your agency, and visit 511.la.org for real time traffic advisories and road closure updates.
While the exact cause of this crash remains under investigation, inattentive and distracted driving continue to be leading causes of crashes in our state. Louisiana State Police continue to urge motorists to avoid all distractions while driving. Motorists are encouraged to maintain a safe speed and distance when following vehicles especially in heavy traffic. Information on distracted driving may be found online by visiting www.Distraction.gov. Motorists that witness hazardous situations are urged to call *LSP (*577) and report that activity to the Louisiana State Police.
(photo courtesy of LA State Police)