Firefighter critically injured in fatal bus crash released from hospital

Published: Sep. 8, 2016 at 10:10 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 9, 2016 at 1:32 AM CDT
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Source: LSP
Source: LSP

ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH, LA (WVUE) - A firefighter was released from the hospital more than a week after an out-of-control bus tossed him over an interstate guardrail.

The communications director for St. John the Baptist Parish said Nick Saale has made progress toward his recovery every day since the Aug. 28 crash that killed three people.

Saale, Fire Chief Spencer Chauvin and firefighter Mack Beal responded to an accident on I-10 westbound near Laplace and used their fire truck to block traffic while Louisiana State Troopers investigated.

About 30 minutes later, a "party" bus slammed into the fire truck and several other vehicles. All three firefighters were tossed into the water below. Chauvin died and Beal received minor injuries to his leg and shoulder.

The crash also claimed the lives of two Moss Point, MS residents: Jermaine Starr and Vontarous Kelly. Forty-one others were injured.

The bus' driver, Denis Yasmir Amaya Rodriguez, was booked with three counts of negligent homicide, 41 counts of reckless injuring, reckless operation and driving without a license. State police said the 37-year-old from Honduras was in the country illegally and should not have been behind the wheel.

Twenty-four people were passengers on the bus driven by Rodriguez. Troopers said the group was headed to Baton Rouge, to find work after the recent floods.

Rodriguez's bond was set at $1.1 million.

Parish leaders say a fund has been set up at Capital One bank, to help Chauvin's family and others are in the works for Saale and Beal.

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