Ponchatoula, LA — On Tuesday, Aug. 3 at 2:35 am, Louisiana State Police Troop L investigated a fatality crash involving two 18 wheelers on Interstate 55 at LA 22 in Tangipahoa Parish.
The crash occurred as a 2008 Kenworth 18 wheeler, operated by John Nelson, 53, of Westwego, LA, was stopped on the southbound shoulder of I-55 less than half a mile north of LA 22. As the Kenworth 18 wheeler pulled off from the shoulder, it proceeded south in the right lane of Interstate 55 at a very low speed. While slowly continuing south in the right lane, the Kenworth was struck from behind by a 2007 Freightliner 18 wheeler, driven by Jimmy Bennett, 59, of Florence, MS. Due to the force of the impact, the trailer of the Kenworth was pushed forward into the cab portion of the 18 wheeler crushing Nelson in the driver’s seat.
Nelson was pronounced dead at the scene by the Tangipahoa Parish Coroner’s Office. He was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash and alcohol use is not suspected.
Bennett was wearing a seatbelt and received minor injuries in the crash. He submitted to a breath alcohol test showing no detectable signs of alcohol in his system.
While the crash remains under investigation, troopers urge motorists to remain vigilant while driving and remember that crashes are unexpected events. By taking precautionary steps including never driving while distracted or impaired and always obeying the laws of the road, motorists can substantially reduce their risk of being involved and/or injured in a crash.