Louisiana State Police are looking into the possibility that a driver may have fallen asleep at the wheel, causing the fiery crash that killed her and a passenger in her pickup truck.
The head-on collision happened around 4:15 a. m. Wednesday on Highway 6, about 10 miles east of Many near the Sabine- Natchitoches Parish line.
Investigators say Leah Harris, 43, of Natchitoches was behind the wheel of a pickup truck heading west on Highway 6, when she crossed into oncoming traffic.
"(The pickup) struck the 18 wheeler. It ejected both the people in the truck...and at the point of impact, it knocked the truck back approximately 100 feet," said Trooper J. L. Dees, with LA State Police, Troop E.
The big rig, meanwhile, rolled over onto the highway shoulder and burst into flames. Somehow, the driver, Antonio Horn, 43, of Nacogdoches, escaped with only minor injuries.
However, Harris and a male passenger, whose name has not been released, were killed in the crash. The impact nearly obliterated Harris' pickup truck, and scattered truck parts and body parts across the highway, according to Ron Rivers with the Sabine Parish Coroners Office.
"It is really a horrific scene for anybody. Even a veteran like myself with the coroners office, to see something of this tragic nature," he said.
During the investigation and the cleanup, troopers shut down a five mile stretch of Highway 6 in both directions between Robeline and Many.
Drivers were redirected onto Highway 117 and Highway 120 during the closure which lasted several hours.
As of 11:30 a.m., troopers were still asking drivers to avoid the area because part of the highway was stilll blocked by debris.
Story by Katrina Webber