Teenage girl dies in 16-vehicle crash on old Miss. River Bridge, police say

Updated: Feb. 23, 2021 at 6:22 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana State Police say a 13-year-old girl has died following a 16-vehicle crash on US 190 on the old Mississippi River Bridge Tuesday morning.

Trooper First Class Taylor Scrantz identified the teenager as Janaria James, of Plaquemine.

The crash happened shortly before 8:35 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

Scrantz tells WAFB’s Austin Kemker the vehicle the teen was in was hit by a semi-truck.

Multiple cars were also hit by several semi-trucks, Scrantz says.

The crash scene stretched for about a quarter of a mile on the bridge.

Some of the other victims suffered minor to moderate injuries in the crash, police say.

Authorities say some victims refused treatment and others were transferred to area hospitals.

The eastbound portion of the bridge reopened just before 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Once LSP wraps up its investigation into DOTD will evaluate the finding to determine if any changes need to be made to the bridge to prevent another fatal crash from happening again.

Old Bridge crash
Old Bridge crash

Archie Trahan, who was caught up in the wreck said DOTD should put some sort of warning signal on the bridge to alert drivers when traffic is stopped on the bottom of the bridge.

“I know how long it takes for an 18 wheeler to stop and they were going way too fast to even think about stopping when he topped that bridge coming down the other side and no warning,” Trahan said.

An initial look by DOTD’s Shawn Wilson shows there have been 10 wrecks of varying severity over the last several years. He said the cause of this wreck will likely determine any changes made to the bridge.

“We’ll look at the assessment of all these accidents,” Wilson said. “To my knowledge, this is the first time that we’ve had a death in this vicinity but we’re going to dig into that deeper to make sure we understand what’s happening, why it’s happening to come up with some alternatives.”

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