Major wreck takes out light at Prien Lake Road and La. 14 - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Major wreck takes out light at Prien Lake Road and La. 14

The signal light at La.14 and Prien Lake Road was literally knocked out of service Tuesday morning when a large industrial rig hit the pole that suspends the lights.

An unusual chain reaction meant it was quite a while before the lights were back on.

State highway officials said around 11 a.m., a big rig used to drill water wells was turning south when its front end caught the light pole. That caused the pole to crash on top of an SUV with a woman and three children inside.

Frantic family members arrived on the scene, relieved to find everyone appeared to be okay.

Todd Landry with the State Department of Transportation and Development said, "our forces are coming out to try to lift the pole and try to stand it back up, get it functioning. The foundation is still firm, so now we're going to see. Our forces are going to assess the situation and try to stand the pole back up and get it functioning again."

Clearing the wreck proved to be neither easy nor fast.

After a couple of hours, they were able to move the SUV away from the pole and continued working on the lighting apparatus itself. By 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, all the roadways in the area were reopened.

The situation appeared confusing to some drivers, who may have misunderstood where to go. Sgt. Richard Harrell reminds drivers to be cautious and alert in such situations.

"When officers are physically out in the middle of the intersection directing traffic, they're there for a couple of reasons. One of them is your safety. Things have to proceed in an orderly manner or else more crashes happen," said Harrell.

Harrell has this advice for motorists who become confused in such situations: "Look for the police officer that's in the middle of the intersection that's directly in front of you, and stare at that officer. He's going to tell you whether to go or to stop with his hand signals. And the best thing is not to pull up next to him and say, 'No, I need to go this way.' You need to go where the officer's telling you."

Because of the size of this intersection, police say they cannot simply put temporary stop signs here.

No word yet on whether the driver of the truck will be cited. 

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