• 73°

Update: LaPlace motorist involved in fatal St. James wreck

GRAMERCY — A man who exited a vehicle on Interstate 10 in St. James Parish was struck and killed by a LaPlace motorist Sunday morning, authorities said, adding criminal charges in the case may be pending.

Sgt. Jared L. Sandifer of Louisiana State Police Troop A said troopers began investigating the four-vehicle fatality crash that occurred on I-10, east of Louisiana 641, shortly before 5 a.m. Sunday. The crash took the life of 31-year-old Charles A. Branch Jr. of Jonesville.

Investigators said the chain of events began as 26-year-old Andre Collins of Baton Rouge was driving a 2013 Chrysler 200 westbound on I-10. At the same time, 23-year-old Jamie Resendiz of Richland, Miss., was also driving westbound on I-10 in a 2004 Ford Excursion.

“For reasons still under investigation, the Chrysler driven by Collins ran into the rear of the Excursion,” Sandifer said. “As a result, the Chrysler became disabled facing east in the westbound lanes of I-10. Collins and his passenger, Branch, got out of the disabled Chrysler and entered the median.”

As Collins and Branch entered the median, 23-year-old Adam Fabre of LaPlace was driving westbound in the left hand lane of I-10 in a 2009 Dodge pickup. Fabre swerved left into the median in an attempt to avoid the disabled Chrysler.

“Upon doing so the Dodge struck Branch as he was standing in the median,” Sandifer said. “After striking Branch, the Dodge crossed back onto I-10 before coming to rest on the north shoulder. After Branch was struck by the Dodge, 20-year-old Lester Ross Jr. of Baton Rouge was traveling westbound on I-10 in a 2012 Ford Focus. The Focus struck the disabled Chrysler head-on.”

Branch suffered fatal injuries as a result of being struck by the Dodge, Sandifer said, adding impairment on the part of Collins is a possible factor.

A toxicology sample was taken from Collins and submitted to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis.

“Charges may be pending for Collins,” Sandifer said. “I unfortunately do not have a time frame for toxicology results.”

Collins, who was properly restrained at the time of the initial crash, was taken to St. James Parish Hospital with minor injuries.

Investigators said all other drivers involved were properly restrained and uninjured and the crash remains under investigation.