CHAPTER 27. CRISIS
New Orleans. 6:05 p.m.
―Dispatch, this is Unit 2 and right behind me is Unit 7. We are eastbound on I-10,
just before Poydras Street, about ¼ mile west of the Superdome, and I have a truck in
front of me with Louisiana plates CXS-990. That‘s the truck!‖
The police officers put on their flashers and sirens, and drove around the truck,
motioning for him to pull over. The Al Hamal brothers were not in the truck. They had
paid a homeless guy $1,000 to drive the truck east on I-10 and stop the truck on Poydras
street just underneath the highway overpass. Diego Sanchez, one of the two brothers, was
sitting in the driver‘s seat of a different type of truck, monitoring the emergency police
bands. When he heard the message about the truck with license CXS-990, he pressed the
first button on his remote control device and the machine guns on the front of the tractor
trailer truck pivoted outward from their sleeves and started firing bullets. No one was
more surprised at this than the homeless man driving the truck, who had no idea the
machine guns were even there.
―All units! The truck is firing from machine guns mounted on the top of the truck
hood! We need to take this truck out before it gets to the Superdome. Where‘s our air
The Army pilot of the Apache helicopter circling the stadium was ready for this
contingency. He swung the helicopter over the roof of the Superdome and down towards
the truck. If he had to, he would blow up the truck with a Hellfire missile.
The homeless man could see where this was going. He was going to be dead soon if
he did not stop this truck. He went down the ramp of I-10 to Poydras Street, and pulled
the truck to a stop just underneath the highway overpass. The Apache helicopter was
hovering just on the other side. He was ready to send a Hellfire missile in the belly of the
truck. The police dove out of their cars and swarmed around the truck to get the driver.
Just then, Diego Sanchez, sitting in the front seat of his own truck a short distance
away, pressed the second button on his remote control panel, and the C-4 in the back of
the homeless man‘s truck ignited. The detonation was catastrophic, and the fireball
engulfed all the police officers and cars under the bridge, the hovering Apache helicopter,
and a huge section of the highway as well. The concrete of the highway came down in a
heap of rubble onto the top of Poydras Street. Smoke filled the air. No one would be
going anywhere on those roads.
Inside the stadium, the Panthers had just scored a quick touchdown on a long bomb
from Benjamin to Shane and were getting ready to kick off to the Dolphins. The
Panthers‘ kicker placed the football on the orange tee and backed up for the kick. Just
then, the explosion underneath I-10 occurred. The explosion knocked the ball off the tee,
and all the fans in the stadium wondered what the huge sonic boom was. No one really
worried too much, though. Not a single fan at that moment realized what had happened
less than a quarter of a mile away.
6:08 p.m. Gulf of Mexico, Delta Flight 16, 10 minutes east of the Louisiana