Witness to yesterday’s 16-vehicle fatal bridge pile-up calling for better signage, improved safety measures

“A fatality may get it done,” he said.

A witness to Tuesday’s 16-vehicle pile up is calling for improved safety measures along the old Mississippi River bridge. 

The accident happened on February 23rd in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

According to ABC 2 News, Archie Trahan and Sherry Richard were sitting in traffic on the eastbound side of the 190 Mississippi River bridge when they witnessed  the chain-reaction crash from beginning to end. 

“Looked in my rear-view mirror, seeing an 18-wheeler coming down the road, basically sideways, and another 18-wheeler hit him in the back and forced it into everybody,” Trahan said, going on to describe how he tried to help free the 13-year-old Janaria James who was trapped and killed in the wreck, but there wasn’t much he could do. 

“The wheel [of the semi truck] was on top of the car, which pinned her head down,” Trahan said. “Nothing I could do.”

Trahan says he uses the bridge daily, and believes something should be done to prevent something like this from happening again. 

“I do think we need some kind of warning system on this bridge, because there’s plenty of places to mount it,” Trahan said. “To say there’s a train on track, to be aware that there may be stopped traffic.”

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development says that this is the first fatal crash in the area for years, and so more evidence is needed before enhanced safety measures along the bridge can be pursued, but Trahan believes the changes can’t come quickly enough. 

“I really believe if we had some kind of warning on this bridge saying there was a train on the tracks, maybe these 18-wheelers would have enough time to slow down and people would be aware that there’s traffic stopped,” Trahan said. “I don’t know if we could ever get that done, but a fatality may have that done.”