Based on vehicle records and information provided by the family and LSU, investigating troopers say that Gibbs was the driver of the Jeep Grand Cherokee involved in a five-fatality crash.
Final positive identification and toxicology results are still pending at the Orleans Parish Coroner's Office.
Gibbs was studying English at LSU, university spokesman Ernie Ballard said, and he was also serving as a graduate assistant for the Southern Review and was a graduate instructor.
“The LSU family was saddened to hear about the passing of Ryan Gibbs,” LSU Chancellor Michael Martin said in a statement. “This is a great loss to the LSU community, and our hearts go out to his family, friends and everyone he touched in the English department.”
Shortly before 3 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 10, Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop B investigated a four-vehicle crash on the elevated portion of Interstate 10 westbound west of La. Hwy. 3188 in St. John Parish.
According to the investigating Troopers, a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee was traveling east in the westbound lanes of I-10 when it struck an oncoming 2010 Ford Focus traveling west. Shortly after the initial crash, the Jeep Cherokee was additionally struck by a westbound 2012 International 18-wheeler, driven by Ryan Firman, 61, of Cottonport, and a 1998 Saturn sedan, driven by Reginald Nutter, 30, of Baton Rouge.
Notification has been confirmed to the families of the Ford Focus’ occupants. The driver of the Ford Focus was identified as Lawayne Rice, 30, of Zachary.
The occupants of the Ford Focus include front seat passenger Terrell Sims, 27, of Slaughter; right rear passenger Louis Brown Jr., 19, of Baton Rouge; and left rear passenger Dondray London, 20, of Baton Rouge.
Rice and Sims were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, however, Brown and London were not properly restrained.
After the initial head-on collision, the Jeep SUV became engulfed in flames. Due to the extent of the fire, seat belt use and impairment of the driver of the Jeep were unable to be determined until toxicology results can be determined.
Firman received minor injuries and was treated at the scene. Nutter was transported to River Parish Hospital for minor injuries.
Investigating Troopers report that alcohol impairment is unknown at this time, and routine toxicology tests are pending for each driver in the crash.
Troopers remind motorists of the dangers of impaired driving and lack of seatbelt use.
While there have been fewer deaths associated with impaired driving in recent years, there is still much room for improvement. While not all crashes are survivable, proper use of seat belts can greatly decrease an occupant’s chance of death and may greatly reduce the extent of injury. Louisiana law requires every vehicle occupant, front seat and back seat, to be properly restrained day or night.
Taking the time to buckle up every trip and every time is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash.
Motorists who witness hazardous situations are urged to call *LSP (*577) and report that activity to the Louisiana State Police.