APSO seeks driver who caused Tuesday accident

By: Howell Dennis
ACADIA PARISH - An intoxicated man crossed the median on Interstate 10 Tuesday afternoon just west of Rayne and struck an 18-wheeler head on. Amazingly, nobody was seriously injured in the crash which involved the intoxicated driver’s, Curtis Cheley, 35, of Tabernacle Rd. in DeRidder, pickup truck and three 18-wheelers, two of which hit the initial wreck in a chain reaction scenario.

Danny LeBlanc, of New Orleans, was traveling to Houston at the time and began following Cheley’s vehicle after he noticed him driving erratically just outside of Lafayette going onto the median and back onto the road. He called 911 and began filming Cheley’s vehicle with his phone camera and describing what he saw.

What he witnessed next was horrifying.

Cheley’s pickup suddenly crossed the median and was driving west in the eastbound lane of I-10. He not only kept driving but sped up, weaving in and out of the path of the terrified oncoming motorists for a short time before he slammed head on into a truck causing a chain reaction wreck involving two other 18 wheelers. Amazingly, neither he nor any of the other drivers were seriously injured and Cheley jumped out of his car and walked around shouting indiscriminately, looking dazed and apparently under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

When police arrived on the scene Cheley threw a punch at one of the officers and had to be restrained by the officer with help from several bystanders.

The accident also created a traffic nightmare as cars were lined up in the I-10 eastbound lane for miles. It wasn’t until approximately 10 p.m. that the eastbound lane of I-10 was reopened.

Cheley was treated at American Legion Hospital and was charged with reckless operation and driving while intoxicated. After posting bond, he was then released by the State Police before he could be charged by the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Acadia Parish Sheriff Wayne Melancon advised that warrants have been issued for Cheley in connection with Tuesday’s accident that occurred on I-10 eastbound near mile marker 83.

Melancon stated that in addition to the traffic related charges that were filed by Louisiana State Police his office is charging Cheley with attempted carjacking, battery on a police officer, resisting arrest violently and interfering with the duties of a police officer.

Anyone knowing his whereabouts is asked to contact their local law enforcement agency or the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office at 788-8700.

Related: Truck, three 18 wheeler accident blocks I-10 east traffic for miles; one injured

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UPDATE: An apparently intoxicated man crossed the median on Interstate 10 Wednesday afternoon and continued on heading west through the eastbound traffic. Incredibly the scene was captured by a witness who filmed it from his phone camera. The man wove in and out of the terrified oncoming traffic for a short time before he slammed head on into a truck causing a chain reaction wreck involving two other trucks. Amazingly, neither he nor any of the other drivers were seriously injured and the man jumped out of his car and walked around shouting indiscriminately, looking dazed and apparently under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

When police arrived on the scene he took a swing at one of the officers and had to be restrained and placed under arrest. The identity of the man or any of the other drivers involved was unknown as of press time. He was placed under arrests by the state police and also faces charges from the Acadia Parish Police Department.

As of 8:30 p.m. traffic was still backed up for miles as authorities had to close one lane of I-10 and were still cleaning up the scene and searching for evidence. The Post-Signal will have more on the accident, including the identities of those involved as details become available on acadiaparishtoday.com or our Thursday edition.

An accident involving three 18-wheelers and an Cadillac Escalade sent at least one person to American Legion hospital with unknown injuries and had traffic backed up for miles. The Post Signal will have more details as they become available.

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