In the early morning of Wednesday, January 9th, a negligent driver sideswiped a semi-truck pulling multiple trailers. The incident led to the commercial truck toppling over and one of its trailers catching ablaze.
The driver of the semi-truck suffered only minor injuries and is expected to recover. Law enforcement agents are still looking for the driver of the Mercury Grand Marquis which caused the accident.
Details About the Accident
The hit-and-run accident took place at approximately 6:00 a.m. on Interstate 10 in Metairie. The truck was traveling to downtown New Orleans pulling a shipment of paint cans when it was struck by the driver of the Grand Marquis who was traveling in the right lane.
In the aftermath of the collision, the 18-wheeler was turned on its side including having one if its trailers flipped over the edge of the elevated expressway, damaging the road. A second trailer caught on fire, which was made worse as a result of the paint cans, which ignited as well.
The East Bank Consolidated Fire Protection District was called to the scene of the accident to control the fire.
The accident shut down the eastbound lanes of I-10 for several hours as work crews cleaned the area. The left eastbound lane on I-10 remained closed so that it could be repaired. It was reported that there was moderate damage to the bridge piers and the bottom of the deck.
Louisiana State Police troopers were able to locate the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run by Wednesday afternoon but not the driver.
Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents and deaths are at an all-time high, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. As per the organization:
- More than one hit-and-run collision occurs every minute in the United States.
- 2016 saw the highest number of hit-and-run crash fatalities with 2,049.
- An average of 682,000 hit-and-run crashes occur each year.
- In 2015, there were over 737,100 crashes in the United States.
- There was a 60 percent increase in hit-and-run deaths between 2009 and 2016.
- Louisiana was the second worst state for hit-and-run fatalities.
Hit-and-Run Penalties in Louisiana
Generally speaking, a crash is considered a hit-and-run when at least one of the drivers flees the scene after an accident without rendering aid or providing sufficient information to the other driver involved.
Depending on the severity of the accident and the facts of the crime, a hit-and-run accident can either be a misdemeanor or felony:
- If there was no death or serious bodily injury then the party responsible for the hit-and-run may be fined no more $500 and/or sentenced to jail time of no less than 10 days but no more than 6 months.
- When death or serious bodily injury occurs as a result of a hit-and-run accident, then the defendant can be charged with a felony. The penalty of a felony hit-and-run charge shall be a fine of no more than $5,000 and/or imprisonment with or without hard labor for no more than 10 years. In the most severe hit-and-run cases, the penalty is imprisonment with or without hard labor for no less than 5 years but no more than 20 years.
Tips for Avoiding Hit-and-Runs
While accidents do happen, there are measures that you can take to better protect yourself and to limit the chance that you are the cause of a hit-and-run accident. AAA Exchange offers some meaningful tips for both pedestrians and drivers, including:
- Wear reflective clothing to stay visible to drivers, especially at night.
- Keep your eyes and ears focused on the road at all times.
- Avoid using your phone or headphones while walking and never assume that drivers will give you the right of way.
- Use safe areas for crossing streets like crosswalks and/or sidewalks. Avoid walking in heavy traffic areas (i.e. highway).
- Alcohol consumption affects pedestrians as well; avoid drinking to make your travels safer.
- Follow all traffic rules and signs.
- NEVER drink and drive.
- Keep an eye out for pedestrians at all times, especially in school zones and neighborhoods.
- Always follow the speed limit and traffic signs.
- Use your lights in bad weather.
- When reversing, always check that no cars or pedestrians are behind you.
- Always yield to pedestrians and crosswalks.
If You Have Been Involved in a Hit-and-Run
While any accident can leave you feeling overwhelmed and rattled, it is important to try to retain your wits so that you can remember as many details about the accident as possible. If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, ask yourself:
- What color was the car that caused the accident?
- What type of model was it?
- Was it a newer or older car?
- Did the car have any noticeable damage?
- Did you interact with the driver? What kind of condition were they in?
- Did the car have anything peculiar about it that made it stand out (i.e. color or bumper sticker)?
- Did you catch any details about the license plate?
Just because you’ve fallen victim to a hit-and-run accident does not mean there is no hope for you. The dedicated and experienced Louisiana hit-and-run accident attorneys at Cardone Law Firm are determined to fight for your rights and recovery.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a hit-and-run accident, do not hesitate to contact Cardone Law Firm today for your FREE confidential consultation.
Contact us online or phone Cardone at 504-522-3333.
Sources: The New Orleans Advocate, WDSU