18-Wheeler Driver Killed In Richland Parish Crash Identified

UPDATE: State police have identified the truck driver killed in Tuesday's accident on Interstate 20.

He is 54-year old Don Knight of Pearl, Mississippi.  

Knight was killed when his 18-wheeler he slammed into the back of another 18-wheeler and caught fire.  

In all -- three big rigs and a Toyota Prius were involved in the crash, just east of Rayville.

Investigators say the truck Knight was driving appears to have caused the crash.

He was killed as a result of the fire and pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Prius suffered moderate injuries. No one else involved in the crash was hurt.

Interstate 20 westbound was shut down for about seven hours because of that wreck.


On July 8, 2014, at 5:24 p.m., Troopers assigned to Louisiana State Police Troop F responded to a four vehicle fatal crash on Interstate 20  about 4 miles east of Rayville.

The preliminary investigation revealed that an 18-wheeler was traveling west on Interstate 20 when it struck a stopped 2012 Volvo 18-wheeler, driven by 52-year-old Nathaniel Thomas of Miramar, Florida, in the rear. This caused the Volvo to travel forward and strike a 2014 Toyota Prius, driven by 55-year-old Michael Jedynak of West Monroe, in the rear. The Toyota then was pushed into a 2009 Kenworth 18-wheeler, driven by 46-year-old John Wright of Holly Pond, Alabama. The Volvo, Kenworth and Toyota were all traveling west but were stopped due to traffic congestion in a work zone on Interstate 20.

At this time Troopers have been unable to identify the 18-wheeler and its driver due to the damage from a fire caused by the crash. The driver was pronounced dead on the scene by the Richland Parish Coroner’s office.

Jedynak was properly restrained, suffered moderate injuries and was transported to St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe. Wright and Thomas were properly restrained and did not report any injuries.

Impairment on the parts of Jedynak, Thomas and Wright is not suspected to be a factor in the crash. Toxicology samples were taken and submitted for analysis. Troopers were unable to obtain a toxicology sample from the unidentified driver. The crash remains under investigation.

While the cause of this crash remains under investigation, inattentive and distracted driving contribute to a significant number of crashes in our state.  Information on distracted driving may be found online at www.distraction.gov.

Troop F has investigated 17 fatal crashes which have resulted in 17 deaths so far this year.

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