Campaign to Save Lives on I-12

POSTED: Tuesday, December 9, 2008 - 4:14pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - 5:52pm

Some Baton Rouge area families are on a special holiday mission, a mission they hope will save lives. They all have one thing in common: the tragic loss of a loved one on Interstate 12.

Interstate 12 has been the scene of numerous accidents and traffic fatalities in recent months. Improvements to the road are coming, but not soon enough for some.

Doctors told 27 year old Nikki Alleman she would never be able to have children. Vanessa Starns was floored when her daughter announced the miracle the day after Thanksgiving in 2007.

"We were just ecstatic because this was the grandchild I never thought I would have."

The family held her baby shower in May. A month later Nikki was involved in an 8 car pileup on Interstate 12. The driver of an 18-wheeler hauling 40' long pipes lost control while trying to avoid plowing into stopped traffic on I-12 at O'Neal Lane. One of the pipes crashed into Alleman's Ford Explorer, killing her and her unborn son, Ayson.

Vanessa Starns says, "She was my life. When my mother was drying she helped me take care of my mother and I thought when I got to be up in my years that she would be there and since I expected to have a grandson, that Ayson would be there too. And now my life is really empty."

Angie Andries is another person who has been affected by the danger zone. Her sister Tami Buhler was involved in another massive accident in the exact spot back in November. Andries claims she has contacted representatives and the mayor to fix the problem before any more families suffer.

A multimillion dollar renovation to widen the interstate is expected to be completed by early spring, but the women say 2009 is not soon enough.

Andries says, "At this point we can't get help from anybody else. We're just going to put something out there before the Christmas holiday for people that are driving fast and don't know what they're coming up to. We're just going to do it ourselves."

Starns and Andries are going to post signs along the interstate between the Millerville and Range exits.

"We're looking for anybody else that wants to help us to do it because it is a needless way for people to die."

If you want to take part in this campaign to improve safety on the interstate you can contact Angie Andries by emailing her at