Truck Driver Charged Over Role in Deadly ‘Super Fog’ Pileup in Louisiana


A truck driver faces charges including negligent homicide related to his role in a highway crash during a dense “super fog” in Louisiana in October that caused a huge traffic pileup and left seven people dead and dozens injured, the authorities said this week.

The man, Ronald Britt of Lafayette, was driving an 80,000-pound vehicle at around 60 m.p.h. on Oct. 23 when, having not slowed down despite the severe weather, he crashed into the car ahead of him on Interstate 55 northwest of New Orleans, the Louisiana State Police said on Tuesday in a news release. The impact killed a 60-year-old man, James Fleming of Missouri, and severely injured his wife, Barbara Fleming, 69, the police said.

“It was determined that Britt was operating at a negligent speed, given the driving conditions at the time,” the police said, which led to the death of the man and the injuries sustained by his wife.

Poor weather conditions and limited visibility meant vehicles could not safely exit the highway, the police said, causing congestion and “multiple crashes.” Mr. Fleming had managed to stop his vehicle safely, they said, but was “unable to move his vehicle to a safer location off the road.”

Louisiana state law requires that drivers maintain a safe speed appropriate for the prevailing driving conditions.

Mr. Britt, 61, surrendered to the authorities on Monday and was also charged with negligent injuring, reckless operation and other traffic offenses, the police said. It was not immediately clear whether he had legal representation.

In Louisiana, negligent homicide carries a maximum of five years in prison, a $5,000 fine or both.

The crash was one of several that day, the authorities said, as an impenetrable mist shrouded the area. Seven people died and 63 were injured in the large traffic pileup, which involved at least 168 vehicles, the police said. They originally reported that eight people had died but later revised that figure, citing “intense fires” that “complicated the identification of victims.”



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