Driver Arrested for Negligent Homicide After Deadly I-55 Crash

Published: 03-12-2024 | Category: Troop B

UPDATE March 12, 2023

St. John the Baptist Parish – On March 11, 2024, Ronald Britt from Lafayette was arrested on charges of negligent homicide, negligent injuring, reckless operation, and other traffic offenses in connection to the fatal crash on I-55 in October 2023. The crash tragically resulted in the death of 60-year-old James Fleming and severe injuries to his wife, 69-year-old Barbara Fleming, from Missouri.

Following an extensive investigation spanning several months, it was determined that during a severe fog weather event, multiple minor crashes occurred on I-55 northbound near milepost 14.3. The poor weather conditions and limited visibility prevented the vehicles involved from safely exiting the roadway. Mr. Fleming managed to stop his vehicle safely without colliding with the other crashed vehicles ahead of him. However, due to the congestion caused by the multiple crashes, he was unable to move his vehicle to a safer location off the road.

Ronald Britt, driving a commercial motor vehicle weighing approximately 80,000 pounds, continued to travel at a speed of around 60 miles per hour just before the fatal crash. It was determined that Britt was operating at a negligent speed, given the driving conditions at the time, directly leading to the death of Mr. Fleming and the injuries sustained by his wife, Barbara Fleming.

The Honorable Judge Snowdy of the 40th JDC issued a warrant for Britt's arrest. Britt voluntarily surrendered himself to troopers at the St. John the Baptist Correctional Center on Monday, March 11, 2024. Louisiana State Law requires that drivers maintain a safe speed appropriate for the prevailing driving conditions.

October 24, 2023, at 5:00 p.m.:
Troopers, first responders, DOTD, and various tow companies have worked tirelessly since yesterday morning to continue the crash investigation and clear the roadway.

Overnight, Troopers were notified of an additional victim of the crash who died at a local hospital, increasing the fatality count to eight (8) individuals.  The ongoing investigation has determined that at least 168 vehicles were involved in the crash, and 63 individuals received injuries in the incident. 

As of this update, all vehicles have been removed from both sides of I-55, and DOTD has begun the clean-up of the roadway.  DOTD bridge inspectors are onsite conducting preliminary inspections and have identified multiple areas requiring bridge repairs.  A comprehensive structural inspection will take place once the bridge surface is completely clear of debris, diesel, and other chemicals. 
A testing consultant could potentially begin bridge deck scans this evening to provide additional data regarding the integrity of the damaged concrete. These tests will determine the extent of the damage and the scope of repairs needed. The reopening of the roadway will be carefully coordinated with LSP and DOTD personnel, pending the results of the inspections.  

Troopers are diligently working to confirm that all vehicles involved in the crash are accounted for and identify all persons associated with those vehicles.  Drivers and owners of vehicles involved in the crash who are looking for information on where their vehicle was towed are encouraged to contact Troop B by email at Vehicle owners looking to retrieve personal items or their vehicles from the tow yard can do so by providing proof of vehicle ownership to the tow company where their vehicle is being stored.  

In addition, the public is encouraged to utilize the Louisiana Department of Health behavioral health resource guide for all those affected by this tragic incident:  

October 23, 2023 - Louisiana State Police and dozens of area first responders continue to search for victims of the crash on I-55 in St. John the Baptist Parish.  
Preliminary investigation revealed that at least 158 vehicles were involved in this morning’s crash.  That total is from both north and southbound lanes.  Seven (7) fatalities have been confirmed.  Over 25 individuals were transported to area hospitals with varying degrees of injuries, from critical to minor. Many victims sought medical assistance on their own.  
A portion of the crash scene caught on fire shortly after the initial incident.  One tanker truck carrying a hazardous liquid is being off-loaded due to a compromised tank/trailer. Once the tanker is removed, first responders will be able to better assess the vehicles in that immediate area.  It is possible that additional fatalities could be located. Louisiana State Police asks anyone missing a family member who was traveling through the area this morning to contact Troop B at (504) 471-2775.  
Further, if you were involved in the crash or were a witness, please contact Troop B ( and provide Troopers with your contact information.  
The removal of vehicles will take additional time.  Following the clean-up of the interstate, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development will inspect the bridge for any deficiencies.  
We will continue to update the public as the investigation progresses. All updates will also be posted to the Louisiana State Police Facebook page.
Contact Information:
TFC Jacob Pucheu 
Louisiana State Police
Public Affairs Section
Office: (504) 471-2775