Semi crash shuts down I-75 - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Semi crash shuts down I-75

May 31, 2005

Valdosta - A tractor trailer engulfed in flames in the middle of Interstate 75 is a site no one wants to see barreling towards them, but it's exactly what Vincent Casale came face to face with Tuesday morning. "I've never seen anything like it, it's the most terrifying thing I've ever seen in my life," said Casale.

Casale was driving north on I-75 in Valdosta around 5:00 when his life flashed before his eyes. "There was another semi running southbound and he ran directly into the back of another trailer. It exploded on impact, jumped through the air and came across the median straight at me," said Casale.

He managed to swerve onto the shoulder of the road without hitting another vehicle, while the semi landed in the middle of the northbound lanes. "I still can't stop shaking," said Casale.

State troopers don't know what made the driver of one tractor trailer slam into the back of the other. "We're looking at speed, driver error or he could have fallen asleep," said Trooper William Cope.

Casale says it looked like he was speeding and showed no signs of braking when he plowed into the other truck. "I don't see how the driver got out of there alive because it exploded about three times, once on impact, once when it went through the guard rail and then again when it was sitting here burning," said Casale.

In his 12 years of driving trucks, he's never been in an accident, but had nightmares about something like this happening. "This is my worst fear, what just almost happened, someone coming across the median like he just did and taking me out," said Casale.

Now he's thankful he was able to dodge the fiery crash, and his worst fear didn't become a reality.

The driver of the semi that was hit from the rear wasn't seriously injured. The other driver was taken to South Georgia Medical Center for severe burns and is now in fair condition.

All lanes of I-75 were reopened around 1:00 Tuesday afternoon.

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