UPDATED 3/16/18, 3:45 p.m. — On March 15, 2018, shortly after 1:30 p.m., Louisiana State Police was notified of a nine-vehicle fatality crash on Interstate 49 north near exit 23.
The crash took the life of 72-year-old William Poche of Baker.
The preliminary investigation revealed 48-year-old Terry Gates was driving northbound in the outside lane of Interstate 49 in a 2003 Kenworth tractor-trailer. Gates failed to slow down for slow moving traffic and swerved into the inside lane. Gates struck a 2017 Toyota Corolla being operated by Poche and numerous other vehicles in the inside lane, causing a chain reaction of crashes. During the chain of events, the Kenworth rolled onto the top of the Toyota and came to rest partially in the median.
Poche was wearing a seat belt, but sustained fatal injuries. He was pronounced deceased on scene by the St. Landry Parish Coroner’s Office. Gates was wearing a seat belt and sustained moderate injuries. He was transported to Opelousas General for treatment. Seven other drivers and several passengers sustained minor to moderate injuries and were transported to local hospitals for treatment.
Impairment is not suspected to be a factor in the crash. Standard toxicology samples were taken and submitted for analysis. Gates was cited for careless operation. This crash remains under investigation and other charges may be filed.
State Police have confirmed one fatality in the wreck that took place at I-49 exit 23.
The St.Landry Sheriff’s Office is reporting an accident involving an 18-wheeler and another vehicle. Vehicle is trapped under the 18-wheeler and crushed roof to floorboard. Motorists should expect delays. Air-med is en route.
We will have more details when they are made available.