Highway reopens hours after truck, bus accident injures 16

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wwltv.com

Posted on July 17, 2013 at 4:34 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 17 at 10:24 PM

Jaclyn Kelley / Eyewitness News
Email: jkelley@wwltv.com | Twitter: @jkelleyWWL

ALGIERS, La. -- Police closed down Behrman Highway for nearly five hours as crews worked to remove a vacuum truck and an RTA bus that collided Wednesday afternoon.

Police say 16 people were injured in the crash, 11 of which were treated at the hospital.

Witnesses say it was a scene right out of a movie -- a loud explosion, heavy smoke and flames nearly 20 feet high.

That is what shocked drivers, like Lloyd Williams, say they saw when a vacuum truck collided with an RTA bus. Officials say the crash caused a secondary crash, which involved a taxi cab and two other cars.

"When it hit the bus, it flipped up 20 foot in the air, came back down and blew up," said Lloyd Williams.

Witnesses say the bus was stopped at the intersection of Old Behrman and Behrman highway and was just about to make a left hand turn when it collided with the vacuum truck.

When emergency responders arrived, the truck was on fire and leaking fuel and other flammable materials.

"Extremely concerning," said NOFD 8th District Chief Ronnie Fiorello. "Particularly when you have an RTA bus with passengers on it."

Fire officials say there were 10 passengers on the bus at the time, all of which were rushed to safety by police officers as fire crews battle the flames.

"The truck was fully involved," Fiorello said. "We did a quick knock down of it and immediately searched for any trap victims. My first concern was running over there to see if I could give some people a helping hand."

Officials say 16 people were injured in the crash. Of the 16, 11 were transported to the hospital for non life-threatening injuries.

"I'm just thankful no one was seriously hurt," said witness Lea Landry.

Although officials says this intersection isn't know to be dangerous, those that live nearby disagree. "There are a lot of weeds and you can't see past them, so it doesn't surprise me because you really take a chance when you coming from old Behrman on to this part," Landry said.

Fire officials say the materials in the truck's tank were not hazardous, but Hazmat crews were called in to help clean up the leaking fuel.

Police say they are still investigating the cause of the accident and have not issued any citations.

 

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