IRWINVILLE, GA (WALB) – A fiery, chain reaction crash killed three people and injured two others Monday afternoon in Irwin County.
State Patrol investigators spent several hours trying to piece together what happened in a construction zone on Highway 125 near Irwinville.
"This is the worst one I've ever worked," said Sgt. First Class Chris Bryan with the Georgia State Patrol.
A paving project was underway on 125. Troopers say seven vehicles were slowing down or stopped in the construction zone when an approaching tractor trailer came through.
"From what I gather from my investigation, this tractor trailer was running a little too fast to stop. He hit a car that struck six more. Eight cars were involved. three of them caught on fire. There were three fatalities," Bryan Said.
Theodolphus Harris of Deland, Florida, Janice Potts of Ocilla, and Dale Couey of Willacoochee were killed when their cars burst into flames.
The heroic effort of a DNR Ranger who witnessed the crash to rescue one of the victims proved impossible.
"He did try to pull one of the fatality victims out of the car," Bryan said.
The Georgia State Patrol Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team was called in to survey the scene. Troopers say all measures were in place to warn drivers to slow down.
"As you can tell the cones are up and the signs are up. It's very obvious it's a construction zone," said Bryan. "The construction crew did a flag man up the road who had his stop sign up," he said.
The driver of the Lumber Transport rig, Marcus Boatright of White Plains, Georgia, said he was trying to stop his truck but when he applied his brakes, the trailer began to shift and he struck the car in front of him. He was not injured.
Two others were injured in the crash. Tammy Jones of Pelham was taken to Tift Regional Medical Center and Maurice Lake was airlifted to Macon. No word on their conditions.
So far no charges have been filed against Boatwright pending the outcome of the GSP investigation.