Two people were killed and 41 were injured when a charter bus driven by a man without a license who is in the U.S. illegally crashed into vehicles at the scene of a previous minor accident on Interstate 10 near La Place, according to the Louisiana State Police.
One of the people killed was a district fire chief from the St. John the Baptist Fire Department, Louisiana State Police Trooper Melissa Matey said.
The bus driver, Denis Yasmir Amaya Rodriguez, is from the Honduras and is in the U.S. illegally, Matey said.
The people on the bus, which is owned by AM Party Bus/Christina’s Transportation, were “daily hires” who were in the area to do construction and rebuild following the devastating flooding that hit Louisiana, she said.
It is not known who hired the workers, but police believe they are in the U.S. illegally, Matey said.
State troopers and members of the St. John the Baptist Parish Fire Department responded and shut down the roadway. Three firemen were standing between a trooper’s unit and the pickup truck, officials said.
Investigators said a charter bus headed to Baton Rouge was westbound on I-10 when it also lost control, for reasons unknown, and struck the fire department’s ladder truck.
The charter bus came across the right lane when it struck the ladder truck and hit the three firemen, sending them over the guardrail and into the water. One of the firemen was district chief Spencer Chauvin.
Chauvin was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The two other firefighters were injured and have not been identified.
State police said 30-40 people were on the charter bus when it crashed. Each passenger was injured and taken to area hospitals.