MAP worker killed in crash

Authorities identified a state Motorist Assistance Patrol employee killed Monday morning in a two-vehicle crash on the Interstate 10 Mississippi River Bridge.

Jim Gilmer, 79, 5414 Upton Drive, Baton Rouge, was killed in the crash, which closed the interstate’s westbound lanes for almost three hours, Baton Rouge police Cpl. Tommy Stubbs said in a news release.

Jodi Conachen, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation and Development, said Gilmer had been called out to the bridge to remove debris and was hit.

Stubbs said Gilmer stopped his MAP truck, a 2011 Ford F250 pickup, in the center lane of I-10’s westbound lanes to remove a piece of chain in the middle of the roadway.

Gilmer was standing in front of his truck with the emergency lights flashing when a loaded 2009 Freightliner 18-wheeler rear-ended his truck, Stubbs said.

The crash forced Gilmer’s vehicle to hit him, Stubbs said.

Gilmer was pronounced dead at the scene, Stubbs said.

The 18-wheeler driver, Davie Coussore, 62, 40703 Stewart Drive, Dade City, Fla., was not injured, Stubbs said. Coussore was wearing a seat belt, Stubbs said.

Coussore was cited for careless operation of a vehicle, but the investigation is ongoing and more counts are possible, Stubbs said.

Alcohol is not considered a factor in the crash, Stubbs said. No other vehicles were involved.

Conachen said Gilmer worked for MAP, which is under DOTD, for five years as a truck operator.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of this and any life. Safety is of the utmost importance for DOTD. We will conduct a thorough investigation of this incident,” a DOTD statement said.

The crash, which happened at 9:20 a.m., shut down the westbound lanes of I-10 and caused slow traffic on southbound Interstate 110, Stubbs said.

All lanes closed while police worked the accident scene were reopened at 1 p.m. Monday, Stubbs said.

MAP assists about 16,000 motorists annually while patrolling more than 475,000 miles of roadway, Conachen said.