Victim killed in nine-vehicle crash on I-49 identified

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UPDATE: State police said 72-year-old William Poche, of Baker, was killed yesterday afternoon.

The preliminary investigation revealed 48-year-old Terry Gates was driving northbound in the outside lane of Interstate 49 in a 2003 Kenworth tractor-trailer.

Gates failed to slow down for slow moving traffic and swerved into the inside lane.

Gates struck a 2017 Toyota Corolla being operated by Poche and numerous other vehicles in the inside lane, causing a chain reaction of crashes.

During the chain of events, the Kenworth rolled onto the top of the Toyota and came to rest partially in the median.

Poche was wearing a seat belt, but sustained fatal injuries. He was pronounced deceased on scene by the St. Landry Parish Coroner’s Office.

Gates was wearing a seat belt and sustained moderate injuries. He wasto to Opelousas General for treatment. Seven other drivers and several passengers sustained minor to moderate injuries and were transported to local hospitals for treatment.

Impairment is not suspected to be a factor in the crash. Standard toxicology samples were taken and submitted for analysis. Gates was cited for careless operation. This crash remains under investigation and other charges may be filed.

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