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Ronald Phelps of Whitsett Killed When Semi Crashes, Catches Fire in Louisiana

5:06 PM, Dec 20, 2012   |    comments
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LACOMBE, La. (AP) -- Louisiana State Police say two North Carolina residents died and a third was injured in an 18-wheeler crash in St. Tammany Parish, north of New Orleans.

The Times-Picayune reports the dead were the driver of the truck, Ronald Phelps, 25 of Whitsett, NC, and a passenger, Tiffany Payne, 21, of White Oak, N.C. Both were pronounced dead at the scene by the parish coroner's office.

Another passenger, David Sarty, 25, of Hope Mills, N.C., was taken to a New Orleans hospital with serious injuries.

The tractor-trailer rig crashed Wednesday morning on Interstate 12 near Lacombe. It ran off the highway, struck trees and caught fire, authorities said.

Passing motorists rescued Sarty but couldn't reach Phelps and Payne, state police say.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.

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