UPDATE: The missing driver was located deceased and identified as 66-year-old Thomas Melchionne of Slidell.
Deputies with the STPSO Marine Division are assisting State Police Troop L in searching for an individual who was knocked / fell off the Twin Spans following a crash Thursday night.
Driver Missing After Crash On Interstate 10
Slidell – Last night shortly after 10:30pm, Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop L responded to an injury crash on Interstate 10 eastbound on the Twin Span bridge near mile marker 259 in St Tammany Parish. A driver that had exited their vehicle from a prior crash fell over the side rail of Interstate10 into Lake Pontchartrain as a result of the impact.
The initial investigation led Troopers to determine that, 47-year-old Louis Picolo was eastbound on Interstate 10 in a Chevrolet Cruz when he rear end impacted a Dodge Pickup that was stopped due to a prior crash with a Mercedes Sedan.
All of the occupants of the Dodge and Mercedes were standing on the shoulder of the Interstate 10 bridge at the time of the impact. The impact caused the driver of dodge, that was standing on the shoulder, to go over the bridge rail into the lake.
The identity of the missing driver is unconfirmed at this time. The St. Tammany Sherriff’s Office Marine Division as well as the U.S. Coast Guard are conducting a search of the area for the driver. Impairment is unknown and Picolo was not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash.
As part of the ongoing investigation, a blood sample was taken from Picolo that will be submitted to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for scientific analysis. The crash is still under investigation and any charges will be forwarded to the St Tammany District Attorney’s Office.
Louisiana State Troopers wish to remind motorists to make good, safe decisions such as never driving while impaired, always ensuring every occupant is properly restrained, obeying the speed limit, and avoiding all distractions. While not all crashes are survivable, statistics show that chances of surviving a crash rise significantly when properly restrained.