New charges against driver in bus accident that killed 3

New criminal charges of negligent homicide and negligent injuring have been filed against the driver of a bus in an accident that killed three people and injured dozens near New Orleans, Louisiana State Police said Friday.

State police announced the new charges, filed in St. John the Baptist Parish, in a news release a day after a Mississippi man became the third victim to die.

The driver has been identified as Denis Yasmir Amaya Rodriguez, 37. He now faces three negligent homicide counts, 41 counts of negligent injuring, plus charges of reckless operation and no driver’s license.

Police say the bus Amaya Rodriguez was driving hit a stopped firetruck and other vehicles last Sunday on an elevated section of Interstate 10 outside LaPlace, west of New Orleans.

Bond for the jailed Honduran immigrant is $1.1 million. Authorities have said he is in the country illegally.

State police said Friday that of 41 people injured, 31 were on the bus, which was carrying construction workers seeking work in areas recovering from recent severe floods.

Authorities said the third person to die from injuries in the crash was Vontarous Kelly, 33, of Moss Point, Mississippi, a passenger in a car hit in the accident. Another passenger in the car, Jermaine Starr, also of Moss point, died earlier.

Also killed was a St. John fire district chief, Spencer Chauvin. Flags at the state Capitol in Baton Rouge were ordered flown at half-staff Friday in Chauvin’s honor.

State police are investigating the crash. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is investigating the owners of the bus, AM Party Bus and Kristina’s Transportation LLC.

A number provided by directory assistance for Kristina’s Transportation is that of Ahmed Salem, who said he sold the company to a Christian Lombardo in January. Lombardo, who is listed in Secretary of State records as an officer of the company, has not responded to a message left with agents who answered calls to the company’s reservations line this week.

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