Woman recovering after vehicle falls into Lake Pontchartrain

Updated: Apr. 28, 2020 at 5:09 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - A woman is recovering at home after her car crashed into the middle of Lake Pontchartrain when someone rear ended her in a crash Monday afternoon.

Authorities pulled her car from the lake today after the crash on a northbound crossover which is not part of the $100 million safety improvement program that is now wrapping up.

Not much is left of a Hyundai Elantra belonging to Nakia Stonom. Causeway officials pulled it from Lake Pontchartrain after an accident in a northbound crossover Monday afternoon.

The Elantra plummeted into the lake after slamming into a guardrail in crossover number 4.

Causeway Police, bystanders and motorist assist officers Shane Gaeta and Dareale Sopsher rescued Stonom.

“They threw a strap down to her and she was hanging onto it until officers got there and they threw the life ring out and she was able to hold onto that also,” said Causeway Motorist Assistance patrol officer Dareale Sopsher.

Causeway officials are not releasing video of the actual crash at this time but we were able to view it.

You can see the Elantra apparently turning into the crossover and going sideways as it was rear ended. The Elantra then struck the guard rail on the north side of the crossover and rolled into the lake.

“It was a blessing how everything went smooth and we were able to save a life,” said Sopsher.

The crash comes as contractors wrap up $100 million worth of safety improvements.

New guard rails now line both sides of the southbound span and all but one of 12 new safety pullout bays have been completed.

“We know the new guard rails have been hit three times and kept vehicles on the bridge,” Said Causeway General Manager Carlton Dufrechou.

The guard rails on the crossover are built to the 70s standards, similar to those on the northbound span.

Dufrechou says they will likely remain that way saying chances of another such freak accident occurring again are slim.

The victim is said to be recovering at home on the Northshore.

No one has been charged in the accident. Causeway Officials say their investigation continues.

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