Driver charged with causing deadly 168-car pileup

NEW ORLEANS, LA – Ronald Britt, a truck driver from Louisiana, is facing multiple charges in connection with an October pileup that involved 168 cars and resulted in eight fatalities, one of which is directly attributed to his actions. Among the charges brought against Britt are negligent homicide, negligent injuring, and reckless operation, along with a slew of traffic offenses.

The incident occurred on Interstate 55 (I-55) during a low-visibility event commonly referred to as “super fog.” This weather phenomenon creates conditions where smoke and fog blend, often reducing visibility to less than 10 feet. According to the National Weather Service, it has been responsible for several high-number pileups on highways.

One of the individuals killed in the pileup, 60-year-old James Fleming of Missouri, had safely halted his vehicle alongside other crashed cars. Police reported that the inability to relocate his vehicle due to earlier crashes placed him directly in Britt’s path.

Britt was reportedly driving a truck weighing about 80,000 pounds at approximately 60 miles per hour at the time of the pileup. According to law enforcement, Britt’s speed, considering the prevailing weather conditions, was recklessly high, ultimately resulting in the death of Fleming and injuries sustained by Fleming’s wife, Barbara.

Under Louisiana law, motorists are required to maintain a speed that is considerate of the existing driving conditions. For the charge of negligent homicide, the maximum penalty in Louisiana stands at five years in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

On Monday, Britt voluntarily turned himself in to the police. Information released by the Louisiana State Police last October revealed that the pileup resulted in eight deaths and 63 injuries. The incident also involved a tanker truck carrying hazardous liquid.