Louisiana Home Builders Association keeping eye on state police probe of Sunday’s deadly I-10 crash

State police are continuing their probe into Sunday’s multivehicle accident on Interstate 10 near LaPlace involving a bus full of construction workers who were headed to Baton Rouge.

There’s still no word today on who hired the workers, most of whom were reportedly foreign nationals, or the bus driver, Denis Yasmir Amaya Rodriguez, a Honduran national who doesn’t have a driver’s license and told state police he is in the country illegally.

A state police spokesperson says details remain sketchy about the cause of the accident and the circumstances surrounding those involved. Initial reports on Sunday said the bus passengers were coming to Baton Rouge to do flood cleanup work. Earlier today, however, NBC News reported that the bus passengers “were construction workers unrelated to flood relief efforts.”

Whatever the circumstances, officials at the Louisiana Home Builders Association are watching the investigation develop, and say it’s a cautionary tale for those who would hire undocumented workers, inadvertently or otherwise.

“This is a tragic loss,” says Ken Jones, president of the LHBA.

Jones says given the amount of rebuilding going on in the area it’s critically important for contractors to require legal documentation from any subcontractors and for all the employees they hire.

“We certainly need plenty of workers, especially to do all the tear-out and muck-out of these flooded homes,” he says. “But there is no reason to relax the rules and regulations because when that happens, often, people get hurt.”

LHBA officials say they hope state police soon get to the bottom of who is behind the accident.

“We are very anxious to find out who these guys are, what they were doing and what the driver was doing in this country illegally and without a license,” Jones says.

The Jefferson Parish company that owns the bus involved in the crash, Kristina’s Transportation, is owned by Christian Lombardo, also of Jefferson Parish. He did not return calls today seeking comment.

—Stephanie Riegel

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