SLIDELL, La. (WVUE) - A missing driver who reportedly fell from the Twin Span into Lake Pontchartrain after a crash has been found dead, Louisiana State Police announced Friday, June 5.
Police identified the missing driver as Thomas Melchionne, 66, of Slidell.
The multi-vehicle crash on the Twin Span over Lake Pontchartrain sent Melchionne into the water.
Louisiana State Police troopers responded to a crash with injuries on I-10 E near mile marker 259 in St. Tammany Parish on Thursday, June 4 around 10:30 p.m. A driver that had exited their vehicle from a prior crash fell over the side rail as a result of the impact.
The initial investigation shows 47-year-old Louis Picolo was headed eastbound on I-10 in a Chevrolet Cruz when he rear-ended a Dodge Pickup that was stopped due to a prior crash with a Mercedes Sedan, officers said.
All of the occupants of the Dodge and Mercedes were standing on the shoulder of the bridge at the time of the impact. The impact caused the driver of Dodge, who was standing on the shoulder, to go over the bridge rail into the lake.
The St. Tammany Sherriff’s Office Marine Division as well as the U.S. Coast Guard searched the area for the driver before finding his body Friday.
It’s currently unknown if impairment played a role in the crash; Picolo was not wearing his seat belt at the time of the wreck, troopers said.
As part of the ongoing investigation, a blood sample was taken from Picolo that will be submitted to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis. The crash is still under investigation and any charges will be forwarded to the St. Tammany District Attorney’s Office.