7 Dead In Highway Accident In New Orleans

Friday, November 26th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A tractor-trailer carrying Christmas trees slammed into a minivan and a car on a freeway Thanksgiving night, killing seven people and injuring six, all of them relatives.

The accident happened about 11 p.m. on an elevated stretch of Interstate 10. The victims lived in the New Orleans suburb of Gretna and were believed to be returning from a family gathering. The dead all were passengers in the minivan, which was crushed against a guard rail by the truck. One other person in the minivan was injured, as were all five people in the car. Four were hospitalized in guarded condition. The truck driver was not hurt. No charges were filed.

The cause of the wreck was under investigation. The road was dry at the time. Police spokesman Lt. Marlon Defillo said the minivan was following the car, which had its emergency blinkers on. The tractor-trailer hit the back of the minivan. The driver of the car

"may have stalled, he may have had mechanical problems and it was not obvious that perhaps he had slowed down," Defillo said. "That's what we'll have to determine."

The names of the dead were not released. The accident took place not far from the site of a bus wreck on Interstate 610 that killed 22 people on their way to a Mississippi casino on Mother's Day.