Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 11, 2005

One dies in I-55 accident


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – A crash on Interstate 55 claimed the life of passenger Richard Hall, 45, of LaPlace on Saturday, but the driver survived after swimming to shore.

A 2000 Chevrolet pick-up truck driven by Arlene McCray Mayer, 39, of LaPlace, was traveling south on I-55 and lost control. The truck hit the left bridge rail and traveled off the bridge into the water below, according to information provided by the Louisiana State Police Troop-B.

Mayer then freed herself from the truck and swam to shore. Mayer told authorities that Hall was able to free himself from the vehicle, but was not seen again, according to the LSP Troop-B.

Mayer was taken to River Parishes Hospital and suffered minor injuries. She was later arrested for DWI and reckless operation of a motor vehicle.

Louisiana State Police Trooper Omar Landrum said the search and rescue units search for Hall’s body all day on May 7, then discontinued the search on Sunday, but picked up on the search Monday morning, he said.

“Trooper Anita Bergeron was at the scene Monday morning,” said Landrum. “She told the search and rescue unit (St. John Parish) that she saw what appeared to be a body in the water.”

The S.J.S. & R. Unit re-entered the water and recovered Hall’s body. His body was taken to the St. John Parish Coroners office for an autopsy, according to the LSP Troop -B.

Hall was a native of McComb, Miss. and a resident of LaPlace. He is survived by his companion Arlene Mayer and his mother Dorothy Upton. He is also survived by his children Richard Jr., Michelle, Dawn, Joy, Kevin and Lindsey Hall and his grandchild Madelyn Frost.

Services for Hall will be held today and tomorrow at Community Funeral Home in Brookhaven, Miss.