LaPlace woman killed in wreck on Interstate-10

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – A two-vehicle crash on Interstate 10 over the Bonnet Carre Spillway in St. Charles Parish Friday claimed the life of a LaPlace female, who pulled to the side of the road to investigate a flat tire on her car, said officials from Louisiana State Police.

Senior Trooper Joseph Piglia, a spokesman for State Police said the accident happened around 12:48 p.m. Friday when a 2006 Ford van, driven by William O’Brien, 59, Baton Rouge, veered out of the right lane and struck 43-year-old Constance Washington as she was standing on the shoulder investigating a flat tire on her 2004 Saturn.

O’Brien admitted to investigators that he fell asleep at the wheel just prior to drifting off the roadway, said Piglia.

According to a report from state police, Washington was traveling eastbound on I-10 when the tire went flat. She then walked to the rear of her vehicle and opened the trunk.

As she was standing behind her car, O’Brien’s van left the roadway from the right lane and struck her and her vehicle. The accident resulted in Washington being pinned between the Saturn and the Ford van.

Piglia said St. Charles Fire and Rescue freed Washington from between the vehicles and had her air-lifted to University Hospital in New Orleans, where she succumbed to her injuries.

Piglia said investigators do not know if anything else impaired O’Brien’s ability to drive, and said a toxicology exam is pending. He said O’Brien was taken into custody and booked with negligent homicide and careless operation of a motor vehicle.

The accident caused the closure of parts of Interstate 10 over the spillway for nearly an hour while the helicopter crew worked to fly Washington out.