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Driver killed after crash into Freightliner on I-55 in St. John

RUDDOCK — A Slidell driver approaching a stalled traffic scene on Interstate 55 in St. John the Baptist Parish failed to break, authorities said, leading to a collision with a Freightliner Thursday afternoon.

Louisiana State Police said the driver, 23-year-old Justin Weaver, was not wearing a seat belt and was pronounced dead on the scene.

The crash took place at approximately 4:15 p.m. on I-55 south at milepost 11.7.

Preliminary investigation revealed a Freightliner driven by 38-year-old Sidney Jarrell of Denham Springs was stopped in the right lane due to traffic congestion from a previous crash.

A Mazda MZ6, driven by Weaver, was traveling in the left lane approaching the stopped traffic. For reasons still under investigation, Weaver was unable to stop the Mazda in time, swerved to the right and struck the rear of the Freightliner.

The Mazda’s front seat passenger, 22-year-old Samantha Niemeck, of Pearl River, was wearing a seat belt and was taken to a local hospital with moderate injuries.

Jarrell also had a seat belt on and was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Impairment is unknown and toxicology results are pending an autopsy for Weaver.

Jarrell voluntarily submitted to a blood test, which will be analyzed by the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab.

The crash remains under investigation.