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Hurricane Ida evacuee dies in I-10 crash while driving home to New Orleans area

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 10:54 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 10, 2021 at 6:15 PM CDT
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WEST BATON ROUGE PARISH, La. (WAFB) - A Jefferson Parish man, returning home after evacuating during Hurricane Ida, died in a fiery crash on I-10 Thursday, Sept. 9, authorities said.

The family’s dog also died in the crash.

Timothy Achee, 29, of Metairie, La., was in a vehicle with his father and brother when they became part of a nine-vehicle collision near Port Allen, La., Thursday afternoon.

Achee and his relatives had evacuated to Houston and were heading eastbound to return to their homes, authorities said.

A fiery, multi-vehicle crash on I-10 near Port Allen, La. killed a man from Metairie, La., who...
A fiery, multi-vehicle crash on I-10 near Port Allen, La. killed a man from Metairie, La., who evacuated from Hurricane Ida, and four dogs, authorities say.(West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)

The accident happened when a truck driver identified as Jack Duff, III, 40, of Mobile, Ala., plowed into a line of bumper-of-bumper traffic on the interstate about ten miles before the Mississippi River bridge, West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Lt. Ken Alvarez said. Duff was arrested on negligent homicide, six counts of vehicular injury and careless operation.

Jack Duff III
Jack Duff III(Maj. Zack Simmers/WBRSO | West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)

Achee’s vehicle caught fire. His father and brother were both hospitalized with burns but later released from a hospital.

Three other people also sustained various injuries.

Three dogs in another vehicle were also killed in the incident, Alvarez said.

A fiery, multi-vehicle crash on I-10 near Port Allen, La. killed a man from Metairie, La., who...
A fiery, multi-vehicle crash on I-10 near Port Allen, La. killed a man from Metairie, La., who evacuated from Hurricane Ida, and four dogs, authorities say.(West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)

Duffy was charged with one count of vehicular homicide, six counts of vehicular injury and careless operation of a motor vehicle.

He was booked into the West Baton Rouge Parish Jail and released on a summons to appear in court at a later date.

It’s known as the devil’s triangle of interstates, an interstate that goes from two lanes to one lane.

It bottle necks pretty often, with backups starting at the New Mississippi River Bridge for miles into West Baton Rouge Parish. When that happens, it’s sometimes hard for 18 wheeler trucks to slow down and stop.

“The best way to describe it, it’s like an hour glass, it’s got sand, a big pot sand at the top and it’s all got to go through a small hole. That’s basically what it is. It just takes time for all of that traffic to funnel down into one small lane,” says Lt. Ken Alabarez who is West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office traffic supervisor.

Albarez says yesterday’s accident was tragic. “The young man who lost his life, Mr. Achee, he was actually following behind his father and his older brother, and both his brother and father sustained injuries,” adds Albarez.

Besides the Achee family, four other people had moderate injuries and four dogs died. The accident happened when one 18 wheeler did not slow down quick enough and then plowed into 9 other vehicles. “It’s hard to take a vehicle from 70 miles an hour to 0, you know, in a smaller car can break a lot better than an 80,000 lbs truck and trailer. Then human factor isa big part in it,” says Albarez.

It’s an issue Donald Dibenedetto has seen it far too often, he own Lobdell Wrecking and was at the scene for four hours trying to clean up the wreck.

“Traffic backs up and I don’t know what they are doing, they playing with their phone or looking at something else, but a lot of times you can’t stop or don’t even hit the brakes,” says Dibenedetto.

Deputies charged the truck driver, Jack Duff III, a 40 year old from Alabama with negligent homicide, six counts of vehicular injury and careless operation of a motor vehicle.

He was booked into the West Baton Rouge Parish jail and released on a summons to appear in court at a later date.

St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church in Metairie will be holding a mass Friday at 6:00 p.m. for the Achee family.

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