HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The body of a man killed in a hit-and-run accident late Tuesday night on Interstate 10 was pulled from the Pearl River on Wednesday morning. Louisiana State Police have identified the man as 26-year-old Steven Shawn Clark, of Theodore, AL.
The 18-wheeler he was in, that ran off the bridge, won't be removed for days. Louisiana State Police said special equipment must be brought in to lift it from the water.
Investigators are looking for a dark colored pickup truck that could be responsible for the fatal accident.
According to LSP investigators, Clark was driving in the left westbound lane of I-10. Next to his truck, in the right lane, was another 18-wheeler, driven by 45-year-old Andrew Chapple, of San Antonio, TX.
LSP spokesman Dustin Dwight said the pickup truck attempted to illegally pass Chapple's rig using the right shoulder. When merging back onto the roadway, the truck hit the front of Chapple's truck, forcing it into the left lane and Clark's truck.
Dwight said Clark's truck was pushed over the cement barrier and into the Pearl River. The pickup truck fled the scene westbound on I-10 towards Slidell, LA.
The accident happened near the Mississippi-Louisiana state line around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. Both lanes of Interstate 10 are now open. All eastbound lanes opened around 7 a.m. Dwight said conditions, like fog and a lack of light, made the scene even more of a challenge.
Plenty of drivers were stuck in traffic for up to seven hours as investigators and cleanup crews worked the scene. Many of them ended up stopping at the Mississippi Welcome Center for directions around the mess.
"I was only a mile and half from this rest stop, and I was trying to get to here because I was exhausted," said Florida resident Elizabeth Walker.
Tom Morris and his wife, Remee, were headed cross country when they hit the stalled traffic. Morris stopped in to the welcome center hoping for assistance. That's exactly what employee Bobbie Tate gave him.
Tate traced new routes on maps for several drivers, while a thought lingered in the back of her mind about the accident.
"I was just wondering if it was someone we knew. We get truckers in here all the time and when something like this happens it's just sad," Bobbie Tate said.
According to Tate, she sees dozens of trucks drivers every day and has made friends with many of them. Accidents like this always send a chill down her spine.
Anyone with information regarding the crash should contact Louisiana State Police at 985-893-6250.