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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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