A student driver, and a driving instructor, are in serious/critical condition after being struck head-on by a suspected impaired driver.
Shortly before 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, a 17-year-old student driver, and her instructor, were traveling east on Brownswitch Road in a 2015 Nissan Versa. As they approached the roundabout, at the intersection of Brownswitch Road and Robert Boulevard, they began to yield in order to travel south on to Robert Boulevard. As they were merging, a 2005 Jeep Liberty, driven by 34-year-old, Jarrod Sciacca, was traveling north on Robert Boulevard. For unknown reasons, Sciacca was traveling in the opposing lane at a high rate of speed (estimated between 50 -60 miles per hour), and struck the Nissan Versa, head-on. Sciacca’s jeep flipped onto its side and struck a 2018 Toyota Highlander, which was also traveling through the roundabout. The driver of the Toyota Highlander suffered minor injuries. The Nissan Versa came to rest at the opposite end of the roundabout and caught fire. Several good citizens stopped and rushed to render aid to the student driver and the driving instructor. The owner of a nearby mechanic shop extinguished the flames, while others pulled the occupants out of the wreckage.
Both occupants were rushed to University Medical Center in New Orleans with critical injuries. They both suffered multiple broken bones, fractures, and head injuries. Both females are expected to survive but have a very long road to recovery. Sciacca, who was not injured, was suspected of being impaired and was placed under arrest. Sciacca was charged with two counts of first-degree negligent injury, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, driving while intoxicated, and driving with a suspended license.
Slidell Police Chief Randy Fandal says, “My prayers go out to the young student driver and her instructor. We are extremely grateful they survived the crash, but they did not deserve this. They didn’t even see it coming. The man responsible for this needs to spend as many years in jail as the law will allow. There is no excuse for him being behind the wheel of a vehicle. I would also like to thank the many citizens who selflessly rushed to aid these two ladies. We are all extremely grateful for your actions.”
Sciacca was booking into the Slidell City Jail, but has since been transported to the St. Tammany Parish Jail where a bond will be set.