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Cars are still stacked up on Bluebonnet Blvd. under and near the railroad overpass, where a body was discovered in one of the vehicles late Tuesday, morning, May 18, 2021, after Monday night's deluge of rain.

A Gonzales man was found dead inside a flooded vehicle Tuesday morning, one of several cars that became submerged in floodwaters on Bluebonnet Boulevard near the Mall of Louisiana as massive amounts of rain pummeled the area overnight. 

Most people who got stuck under the railroad overpass on Bluebonnet were able to escape their vehicles, which then floated into deeper water and formed a pile blocking the street. Tow trucks arrived Tuesday morning once the floodwaters had receded and started clearing the road, which is when first responders received reports of a body.

East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office spokesperson Casey Rayborn Hicks said the man was discovered around 10:20 a.m. in one of the vehicles that got stuck under the overpass. Officials believe he died from drowning, she said.

A jumbled collection of several flooded cars remained there as of late Tuesday morning, though the road appeared free from standing water. 

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The man was later identified as Justin Blaine Thompson, East Baton Rouge Coroner Dr. Beau Clark announced Tuesday afternoon. He said Thompson was found inside his vehicle with no visible trauma or signs of foul play contributing to his death, which authorities consider accidental and storm related. 

Thompson was 33 years old, Gov. John Bel Edwards said during a Tuesday afternoon press conference. Edwards said there were at least two other storm related deaths in the Baton Rouge area, possibly a result of power outages. Additional details about those cases have not been released.

Some areas of East Baton Rouge received up to 13.7 inches of rain overnight, and more than 250 people needed to be rescued from flooding homes and vehicles. Nearly three dozen people were brought to the regional airport, which had been set up as a temporary refuge. 

Rainfall totals were highest in the southern part of the parish, including the area on Bluebonnet near the mall. 


Email Lea Skene at lskene@theadvocate.com.