'I woke up in the water,' says Louisiana firefighter injured in fatal bus crash

  • Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune & Nola.com
  • Published: 08/30/2016 12:00 AM

Sitting in his Gonzales residence Monday morning (Aug. 29), St. John the Baptist Parish firefighter William "Mack" Beal was surrounded by photographs of his loved ones as he recalled Sunday's Interstate 10 bus crash that injured him and killed two others, including St. John Fire District Chief Spencer Chauvin. Beal said he had been standing with Chauvin and another colleague, helping State Police respond to an earlier I-10 crash west of LaPlace. They were waiting for a tow truck, he said, when the party bus driven by an unlicensed driver came barreling down and struck a vehicle near them. State Police said that vehicle hit the three firefighters, throwing them over the highway railing and to the water more than 30 feet below. "I remember jumping and I blacked out," Beal said. "And then I woke up in the water." Chauvin, 36, died of his injures in the crash, State Police said. American flags flown at the LaPlace and Reserve fire departments were at a half-staff Monday in honor of his service.


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