A tractor-trailer driver was in serious, but stable condition at Grady Hospital’s Burn Unit after a fiery crash on eastbound I-20 Thursday afternoon, March 13, in Douglas County.
The man’s chances for survival were greatly increased by Good Samaritans who pulled him out of the cab, and an ambulance crew willing to drive on a flat tire and work on him all the way to Grady.
According to Douglas County spokesman Wes Tallon, four tractor-trailers were involved in a chain-reaction wreck that closed the interstate for two hours and caused a 20-mile backup of traffic.
The driver’s cab was engulfed and he was unable to escape without help.
“Nine Good Samaritans stopped along the Interstate and risked injuries to themselves to pull the truck driver to safety,” Tallon said in an emailed accident update. “Two Douglas County Sheriff’s Officers arrived on the scene in time to assist with the final extraction. The driver’s clothing was on fire when he was rescued.”
The man’s identity has not been released.
Douglas County Fire/EMS Department Rescue One treated the driver and took him to Grady, despite debris on the road popping one of the ambulance’s tires. The ambulance continued “since the condition of the patient was determined to be serious and possibly life threatening. Paramedics worked on the patient during the complete trip,” Tallon wrote.
The accident occurred as trucks were slowing down to exit through the weigh station between Lee and Thornton roads.
According to witnesses, one truck slowed down for traffic exiting to the weigh station and was rear-ended by the truck driven by the injured man. Two other tractor trailers then struck the trucks in front of them.
All the trucks were significantly damaged, and debris and diesel fuel covered the roadway.
The accident is being investigated by the Georgia State Patrol, the Georgia Department of Transportation, and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department.