New rail can’t keep truck out of canal

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 16, 2009



ST. ROSE – A family of three traveling on Airline Highway near the Interstate 310 interchange Sunday were able to climb out of their water-filled truck after it crashed through a newly installed steel barrier and into the Borrow Pit Canal, according to a release from State Police.

State Police said Keith Garcia, 39, his wife Ida, 38, and their 4-year-old daughter were pulled to safety with a help of an unknown motorist who stopped to help.

The report said Garcia’s 2000 Chevrolet pickup truck apparently hit a puddle of standing water as he was exiting I-310 at Airline Highway just before 6 p.m. The water splashed onto the vehicle’s windshield, obscuring the driver’s view.

The truck then crashed through the steel guardrail along the shoulder of the road and plunged into the murky water of the Borrow Pit Canal. The report said transportation officials had placed cones and caution signs near the exit to warn motorists of the high water.

The family was able to climb through the truck’s windows, which shattered as the truck hit the water.

The unknown motorists grabbed the Garcia’s 4-year-old daughter as the family struggled to reach the surface. The girl was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

St. Charles Parish officials and residents pushed for some type of barrier along Airline Highway between the road and the canal after frequent accidents that involved more than a dozen fatalities since 2001.

Fire officials said the Garcias are the first to have gone into the canal since the barriers, which run from Almedia Road in St. Rose to Apple Street in Norco, have been in place.