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Emergency crews work the scene on I-10 near the Veterans exit in Metairie where an 18-wheeler overturned and caught fire early in the morning on Wednesday, January 9, 2019.

State troopers have jailed a 36-year-old Marrero man whom they blame for the fiery crash that damaged an Interstate 10 overpass in Metairie and injured a truck driver last month.

After surrendering Friday at State Police Troop B in Kenner, Brandon Eserman faces a litany of counts in the wreck that caused a large truck to ignite, including hit-and-run and negligent injuring.

Investigators believe that when Eserman drove a Mercury Grand Marquis onto I-10 from Power Boulevard in the early morning of Jan. 9, he failed to properly merge into traffic and sideswiped the passenger side of a 2015 Volvo semi-trailer truck pulling two trailers. Eserman then struck the right guardrail near Veterans Memorial Boulevard and continued driving east without stopping, State Police said.

Meanwhile, the truck crossed the center lane and fell onto its side. One of the trailers tumbled over the side of the elevated interstate section and caught fire while first responders brought the driver to a hospital to be treated for moderate injuries.

Firefighters put out the blaze, but not before it had damaged the overpass. Authorities closed the left lane of I-10 eastbound near Veterans for 11 days to make repairs, creating delays for tens of thousands of motorists.

Later on the day of the accident, troopers received a tip about a Grand Marquis parked in the 1000 block of Edenborn Avenue in Metairie that matched the description of the vehicle at the center of the crash. Troopers said they searched the vehicle, confirmed it had damage from the crash and obtained a DNA sample from inside.

Troopers stopped short of saying that the DNA sample matched Eserman. But they obtained a warrant to arrest him Monday, and he turned himself in four days later.

The other counts that Eserman faces include reckless operation of a motor vehicle, driving with a suspended license, lacking insurance and having a fraudulent inspection certificate.


Follow Ramon Antonio Vargas on Twitter, @RVargasAdvocate.