St. John firefighter killed in violent I-10 crash

Published 12:12 pm Sunday, August 28, 2016

LAPLACE — A St. John the Baptist Parish firefighter was one of two people killed Sunday morning responding to a wreck on Interstate 10 near LaPlace.

Details are still developing in the wreck, with Acadian Ambulance announcing two fatalities and 41 patients taken for medical attention — five by air and 36 by ground units.

Authorities and family have identified one of the victims as St. John District Chief Spencer Chauvin.

“It is a sad day in St. John the Baptist Parish as we lost one of the bravest and most dedicated firefighters that I know,” Parish President Natalie Robottom said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, as well as to the families of the other two firefighters involved in the accident.”

Authorities said there was an initial crash on Interstate 10 that resulted in response from the fire department and Louisiana State Police. While they were investigating, a bus came through and hit three fire fighters who were standing by a railing, knocking all three firefighters over the side of the elevated portion of the I-10 bridge.

“This was a horrific accident and one that is still very active,” Robottom said. “This type of loss will affect the entire department and they will have our full support as they deal with the grief of losing a comrade. It is heartbreaking, especially after this same group of individuals helped to guide St. John the Baptist Parish safely through Hurricane Isaac, the February tornado and the flood event last week. Please pray for all involved and please pray for our community.”

Louisiana State Police said the first wreck occurred before 7:30 a.m. Sunday on I-10 west of LaPlace. The second wreck took place when a bus with volunteers looking to assist flood victims in Baton Rouge struck a fire truck.