Florida couple killed on I-55

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 2, 2010



LAPLACE – A Florida couple traveling through Louisiana were killed Monday morning when their recreational vehicle flipped over a guardrail on an elevated portion of Interstate 55 near LaPlace and fell about 100 feet into a swampy area below.

Louisiana State Police Troop B identified the driver as Joseph P. Ridgedell, 72. His passenger was Felisa B. Mullins, 68.

Both were from Contonment, Fla., authorities said.

According to a release from State Police, at about 9:45 a.m. Monday Ridgedell and Mullins were traveling south on I-55 in a 2003 Condor Motor Coach when, for unknown reasons, Ridgedell suddenly lost control of the RV near the I-10 interchange.

The vehicle struck the left guardrail, crossed back over the left and right lanes, struck the right guard rail and fell over the side into the swamp, according to the release.

Police said the RV was towing a car behind it, but no other vehicles became entangled in the crash.

The release stated the vehicle stayed on the water’s surface, allowing authorities to quickly remove the bodies from the scene, but removing the vehicle was much more difficult.

Wrecking crews worked late into the evening to pull the vehicle from the swamp in sections. Parts of I-55 were shut down until after 2 a.m., according to police.

Authorities said speed and alcohol are not suspected as factors in the crash, however, toxicology results are pending.