Around 8 a.m. on Sunday, July 10, a truck pulling a tanker trailer across the Twin Span Bridge westbound when the driver went on a very scary ride. For some unknown reason, the truck flipped, causing the tanker to detach from the bobtail. The cab then jumped the guard rail, and fell into the waters of Lake Pontchartrain.
St. Tammany Parish has a very well-equipped Sheriff’s Office
Luckily for the driver of the truck, Lt. Mike McCrea of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office (STPSO) was on call and nearby with his patrol boat. Being on the water is a part of life in Louisiana, and STPSO is well-equipped to handle anything thrown their way. Lt. McCrea was able to reach the driver, barely floating and covered in diesel fuel that was leaking from the tanker.
Miraculously, the driver only suffered minor injuries from the fall. The tractor on the other hand – well, a picture is worth 1,000 words. Let’s just say the local heavy wreckers fished out a mangled carcass.
Traffic was diverted most of the day, with the options of US 11 and US 90 to get travelers across the lake. Roads reopened at 6:40 p.m. after the tanker and truck were removed and an engineering team inspected the surrounding area.
So why did it fall off in the first place?
A number of things could have caused this accident. Twin Span is a rather long stretch of highway, measuring 5.5 miles long. Known to the locals as the Frank Davis “Naturally N’Awlins” Memorial Bridge, it connects Slidell to New Orleans. It lies a few miles south of the I-10/I-12/I-59 Interchange.
Wind is usually a culprit in accidents on bridges. After checking the local weather reports, the wind was not that bad over the water. The wind was a gentle breeze, and gusts were only 10 mph at maximum. Those are common conditions for any traveler.
Road traffic could have been a factor. Unfortunately, no footage from the traffic camera overlooking the bridge has been released. Traveling too fast and rubbing the guardrail may have blown out a tire. No one can be certain until the investigation is completed and a report made.
There’s a long list of people to thank for saving this driver and getting the vital road back open. Louisiana State Police, Department of Transportation and Development, STPSO, St. Tammany Fire Department Station 1, Knights Towing, Keith’s Towing and Glen Bolin’s Towing were part of the rescue and cleanup effort.