Car explodes in crash

November 15, 2006
By Theresa Schmidt

It's hard to imagine the pieces of wreckage ever comprised a 2005 Nissan Altima.  Ronnie Mesh with Towaways towing service, looks on with amazement as he describes where he retrieved various parts of the car after a one vehicle off Highway 101 north of Hayes.  Says Ronnie, "This is the first time I've ever seen a car come completely apart. They're designed, from what we read, to do that to get the impact away from people."

Ronnie and his wife Linda own Towaways and even after fourteen years in the business they've never seen a car explode like this. Says Ronnie, "This is the worst wreck I've ever seen. When he left the road he apparently hit a tree." Ronnie describe how the parts were all around the scene of the accident.  The main part of the car, the rearend of the car was back in the swamp. The engine compartment and all that were in the road. The dash was on the side of the road, probably about 30 feet away from the main body of the car. The airbags went off. I just don't understand how the floor pan got ripped out with the seats in it. That's the first time I've ever seen anything like that. This is eight or nine parts of the vehicle. It physically came apart in that many parts."

State police are still investigating the accident but they say the driver is being charged with DWI and careless operation. Linda and Ronnie, who themselves have a teenaged daughter, want people to see what can happen. Linda explains, "I want our children to know how bad it is and to please, don't drive fast. Please."  Ronnie agrees. "Young people don't realize how something can effect the rest of their lives. I hope somebody learns off this accident. It's a terrible accident."  They urge people to please be careful.

State Police say the driver of the car was 36 year old Brandon Vanness of Welsh.  Vanness survied the crash and was reportedly taken to a Shreveport hospital.  We have no word on his condition.