PHOTOS: Courtesy Georgia DOT
ADEL – Monday, October 22, 2018, around 11:30 p.m., two semis were traveling in the southbound Interstate 75 “slow lane.”
According to the Georgia State Patrol’s Trooper Frank Gay, one of the semis rear-ended the other, causing him to hurtle across two lanes hitting the concrete barrier wall. The violent hit damaged the semi truck, and broke off the wall.
The truck burst into flames, according to the driver, as soon as he hit the barrier wall.
The broken wall turned into “concrete shrapnel,” according to Gay, which flew into the opposing northbound lane, hitting another semi truck.
In fast-flying chunks, pieces of the wall hit and busted the windshield of the northbound trucker, and damaged the front end of the truck.
“He was distracted,” said Trooper Gay, “and was charged with Distracted Driving, and Driving Too Close.”
Trooper Gay noted that the traffic was light at that hour of the night. No other vehicles were involved. Only the offending driver was injured, and was taken to area hospital.
“I talked to him before they took him and he was okay,” Trooper Gay said. “He’s going to be okay.”
Trooper Gay stayed on the scene from around midnight till 3 a.m. The southbound lanes were shut down and traffic was detoured of the Exit 39 ramp.
Alex Ortiz, from the Adel Fire Department, was on scene. “It was within a foot of the Exit 39 overpass,” he said. “Not quite under the bridge, but at the edge.”
Ortiz explained there was a great deal of heat and flames, “compacting the bridge,” but did not do any damage.”
PHOTO: Truck in flames after rear-ending another semi truck
By late Tuesday afternoon, Ortiz had still not been to sleep. “It was a long night, I haven’t been to bed yet,” he said. “We had to get the trucks ready by five, by about 5:30 a.m. we released them. We had to return and go back out there because there were a few areas that had reignited on the trailer.
The cab of the truck was moved first, but the actual trailer was still in the road. “The trailer had broken in half, and collapsed on itself,” Ortiz said. “It still had a few manifests that were still on the trailer.”
The truckers were hauling multiple items.
“From insulation on power poles, to large barrels they store whisky in, household items, cabinets – a lot of stuff that was in boxes, it was packed so tight it was taking a lot to get them put out,” said Ortiz. Adel Police Department, Cook County Sheriff’s deputies, Adel Fire Department, EMTs, GSP and the DOT were all on the scene.
“It was a long drawn-out process to get the water down there to get the fire put out because it was packed so tight,” said Ortiz. “There was some damage to the median wall and it was thrown over into the northbound lane. Where the cab was on fire you can see where it burned the wall.
PHOTO: Where the semi truck hit the barrier wall, the wheels are evident
“It was a miracle no one was hurt,” Ortiz said. “It’s a good thing it was so late.”