State rep.: Fatal crash could have been prevented if state installed barriers

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wwltv.com

Posted on May 2, 2013 at 10:09 PM

Updated Friday, May 3 at 5:23 AM

Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
Email: mhernandez@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mhernandezwwl

NEW ORLEANS - It was a horrific scene Thursday morning on Interstate 10 in New Orleans East.

Authorities surrounded a mangled Honda Accord, it's driver killed when she crossed over the median and struck a charter bus full of 5th graders on a field trip from Florida.

“She was just coming down, then all of a sudden I saw her lose control. She came through the median right there and started spinning,” said Bill Henderson, who was driving another bus in the group.

The bus driver is being hailed as a hero for avoiding a more serious crash. No children were hurt, but four adults were hospitalized with minor injuries.

But State Representative Austin Badon, D- New Orleans, said the crash could have been prevented if the state had installed cable barriers along that stretch of I-10.

“I wasn't surprised,” said Badon. “I brought the DOTD out there, probably over a year and a half [ago.] They had statistics showing that this area has a higher propensity for accidents.”

A nearly 8.5 mile stretch of I-10 in New Orleans East is left unprotected by life saving cable barriers. In 2011, another woman was killed when she crossed over into oncoming traffic in the same stretch of interstate.

“Here it is you have another fatality,” said Badon. “[DOTD] should have done this a long time ago when it was brought to [their] attention.”

The DOTD has installed cable barriers in other parts of the state. It's constructing them now near I-10's Chef Menteur exit.

DOTD plans to bid out work for the area where the crash happened in October.

DOTD said all of I-10 in New Orleans and Jefferson will have cable barriers by late 2014.

Badon said that's not soon enough.

“This area needs immediate assistance and it needs work and attention,” said Badon.

But that attention is coming too late for the driver who lost her life Thursday.

Authorities have yet to release the identity of the woman killed because they are still notifying family members.

 

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