A fiery crash between two 18-wheelers on Interstate 16 near Metter and Excelsior early Thursday morning kept both lanes of traffic closed for several hours.
Georgia State Patrol Post 45 Trooper Robbie Scott reported the crash took place around 3:26 a.m. near mile marker 105, close to the Excelsior exit, when one truck driver failed to slow and ran up underneath the trailer of another semi.
The tractor of a 2008 Freightliner rig driven by Michael Terecio Willis, 34, Thomaston Road, Macon, became lodged underneath the trailer of a 2007 Freightliner driven by Perse Morrell, 48, R. L. Lee Road, Statesboro, reports stated.
The two trucks continued traveling westbound for another 556 feet before coming to a rest in the roadway.
Willis was able to extricate himself from the wreckage, and was taken to a hospital in Augusta for treatment of head injuries. Morrell was not injured, Scott said.
Willis’ tractor was fully engulfed and destroyed by the fire, according to GSP reports. The tractor-trailer rig was towed from the scene, and Morrell’s truck was disconnected from the damaged trailer and driven away.
A salvage company arrived to clean up debris, oil and fuel spills, keeping one lane of Interstate 16 closed for most of the day, Scott stated in reports. Both lanes were closed from the time of the crash until 9:30 a.m. as troopers investigated the accident, then as the wreckage was cleaned up and towed.
Willis was charged with following too closely. GSP reports did not state reasons why he failed to slow as he approached the other truck.
Thursday’s crash between the two 18-wheelers was the most recent of several crashes involving tractor-trailer rigs on the interstate this year, including a deadly crash in May that took the lives of five Georgia Southern University students.
Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.