Man's burned body found several hours after truck crash in Old Jefferson

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wwltv.com

Posted on July 5, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Updated Thursday, Jul 5 at 5:33 PM

Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News
Email: ssatchfield@wwltv.com | Twitter: @satchfield

JEFFERSON, La. -- Neighbors along Deckbar Avenue in Old Jefferson encountered a strange situation late Wednesday – one that left homes damaged and one person dead.

According to investigators, it all began when a man drove erratically back and forth in a driveway behind several homes.

They said the man was intentionally running into the buildings and, eventually, crashed into a shed, sparking a huge fire.

The fire spread, causing damage to two homes.

"What we believe happened, preliminarily, is that the gas tank of the truck may have been pierced," said Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand. "The fire was very intense, melted pretty much everything in that back structure back there. The vehicle was towed, pursuant to the investigation, and the scene was cleared."

It seemed it was a hit and run, because there was no sign of the driver, officials said.

But Thursday morning – several hours after the crash and fire – a homeowner discovered a body amongst the burned out shed’s charred remnants.

Officials believe the body is that of the man who was driving the truck, who neighbors said lived with his brother next door.

Neighbors identify the man as James Williams, but officials said positive identification could take several days because the body was severely burned.

Thursday, detectives combed the scene and talked with the man's relatives, in hopes of finding out what led to his deadly crash.

"We have some conflicting stories as to what actually went on yesterday and there were some questions about whether or not there was any alcohol involved. All of that's gonna be fleshed out," Normand said.

Meanwhile, neighbors are left with a costly mess.

The owner of the shed and damaged house, who didn't want to be identified, said he’s facing thousands of dollars in repairs.

 

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