Recently, a serious tractor-trailer crash occurred near Savannah. This
one killed five after a tractor-trailer smashed into two cars and then
caught fire, as traffic was halted by construction on the interstate.
Authorities believe that the driver may have fallen asleep at the wheel.
Witnesses at the scene told police that they observed a truck drifting
from lane to lane, and then crashing into the vehicles in front of it
just before catching fire. The crash occurred on Interstate 16, a few
miles west of Savannah, where Interstate 16 meets 95, and closed the highway
for several hours.
Police Chief Mark Revenew said “it’s too early to tell, but
early indications are the driver may have fallen asleep. Three people
died in one car struck by the tractor-trailer, while two others were killed
in a second car that ended up crushed between the big truck and another
eighteen-wheeler.” The driver of the tractor-trailer that struck
the other vehicles survived with no serious injuries. This newest crash
is eerily similar to one that happened less than a month ago on the same
highway, less than 20 miles away.
Last month, five nursing students from Georgia Southern University were
killed on Interstate 16 in a seven-vehicle collision. The collision involved
two tractor-trailers and five passenger vehicles. Authorities believe
that in this case, just like the latest crash, one of the tractor-trailers
crashed into another vehicle, and then it rolled over a smaller passenger
car that burst into flames. The tractor trailer stopped rolling when it
crashed into the back of a tanker vehicle.
The victims of the latest crash were identified as 72-year-old Glenda Adams
of Cohutta and 71-year-old Jerry Earnest of Varnell in the first car,
and Wendy Melton, 39 or Reidsville, Virgil Moody, 19 of Hagan, and Brittanie
Altman, 16 of Claxton in the second car. The victims died on Tuesday afternoon.
These crashes on I-16 are calling attention to the problem of distracted
driving, particularly by truck drivers, who tend to remain behind the
wheel for extended periods of time. Authorities are investigating whether
the driver fell
asleep at the wheel, but it is too soon to tell officially. Georgia State Patrol
Sergeant 1st Class Chris Nease said that the two crashes are “so
eerily similar, looking at them overall, it’s scary. The biggest
problem with most people is they’re just being inattentive and distracted,
and not necessarily by cellphones. It can be anything.”
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