Rayne is a small town of just over 7,300 residents in Louisiana. An interstate highway, I-10, serves Rayne with a single exit near the town’s northern boundary. Late Thursday morning, someone drove a tractor-trailer off the embankment near the exit.
The brief video of the incident begins the tractor-trailer in question plunging across the embankment. The truck then drops off the end onto the four-lane roadway that underpasses the interstate. The semi bounces across the boulevard without touching another vehicle and leaving a plume of dirt and smoke in its wake. The tractor-trailer speeds out of frame where it came to rest on private property, where the semi caught fire.
The Rayne Volunteer Fire Department, headquartered less than a quarter-mile from the scene, responded to the crash and put out the fire. The driver suffered minor injuries on the unplanned excursion. The Rayne Police Department, based at the same location as the volunteer firefighters, is investigating the incident.
Interstate-10 in the Southeast has seeming been more dangerous than usual recently. Earlier today, there was another incident on the other side of the state line in Mississippi. There, a passenger truck rear-ended a camper. The truck’s driver was critically injured, and the interstate had to be closed to traffic to allow a medical helicopter to airlift the driver.
In January, a truck hauling seven new BMWs crashed into a bridge on I-10. The BMWs burst into flames, and the wreck damaged the bridge itself. It took over nine hours for the bridge to be cleared, re-inspected to ensure the safety of travelers and reopened to traffic. While the bridge was reopened, the damage on the bridge won’t be repaired until April.
If I were a local resident, I’d hope that Interstate-10 could just have a quiet month without incident.