State Police: Vehicle involved in a hit and run catches fire at foot of the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge; bystander saved driver from flames


“She was trying to put the fire out herself, and I told her it was beyond the point of putting the fire out. She needed to back up for her safety.”

-Tim Breaux, rescued woman from burning car

UPDATE: ST. MARTIN PARISH, La. – (KLFY) A good samaritan rescuing a woman from inside a burning car found out she wanted by two state police agencies.

The only part of the crispy Volkswagen still able to perform its intended function is the sunroof. Everything is burnt down to the metal. It was a close call before Tim Breaux rescued the driver from going inside.

“She would have been right in the vehicle when the car immersed in flames,” Breaux remembered.

He was on his way from Baton Rouge to Lafayette when he said he saw someone in need, “As I approached the down ramp at Henderson I noticed a young lady was pushing across the side of the road, and it looked like she was having a hard time.”

Breaux got out of his vehicle and pushed the steaming car toward the edge of the road with her, but then a spark started to grow, and that woman tried to save her vehicle herself.

“She went back to the vehicle, and I pulled her back out of the vehicle, and that’s when the flames erupted,” Breaux stated.

While he saved her no questions asked, another group was looking for answers.

“At 1 P.M. Troop A was notified of a hit and run crash,” Trooper First Class and State Police Troop A spokesperson, Taylor Scrantz, told News 10.

State police say Haleigh Lopez was wanted for a hit and run accident Iberville Parish about 15 minutes and 15 miles before she was part of a second crash in Acadiana.

According to Breaux, “She had told me that she had the side of the median, and an 18-wheeler had pushed her off the road. Come to find out, she hit the 18-wheeler, and she was on the run.”

Lopez faces charges for hit and run, careless operation, no insurance, driving under suspension, and more. She was cited and given a summons without being booked in jail.

(Neale Zeringue/KLFY)

Scrantz said any citizen who did what Breaux did should be recognized for it, “The public and law enforcement have to work together as a community in order for us to do a good job, and anytime someone puts their life in danger to save another human being, it’s a noble act.”

Breaux said his first concern was the woman’s safety. He wishes she would have called police to begin with.

“I’m a father, and if that was my daughter on the side of the road pushing her car, I would want someone to help her,” Breaux said. “That’s what I did and that’s what I was thinking.”

It’s without a doubt the vehicle is a total loss, but thanks to the help of a stranger maybe the hit and run suspect won’t be.

State Police Troop A said Lopez suffered only minor injuries from both crashes.

ORIGINAL STORY: HENDERSON, La. (KLFY)- A vehicle fire prompted a temporary lane closure near the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge Wednesday afternoon.

State Police Troop I spokesman Thomas Gossen said the female driver was involved in a hit and run before her car caught fire in the westbound lane near mile marker 116.

A witness reportedly pulled her from the vehicle.

As of 1:20 p.m. all lanes were reopened, Gossen said.

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