Victims identified in tragic Lowndes Co. interstate crash -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Victims identified in tragic Lowndes Co. interstate crash

Peter Lukas Peter Lukas

Emergency vehicles and personnel lined the shoulder of I-75 just south of exit 22 in Lowndes County for several hours Monday morning as they worked the scene of an eight vehicle crash that killed four people and shut down two lanes of the interstate.

"There was three semis involved, one Uhaul, one F250 with a camper, and three other vehicles," said Corporal Peter Lukas with the Georgia State Patrol in Valdosta.

Lukas said the crash was caused when traffic slowed down while troopers were working another accident one mile further south down the interstate that happened just 12 minutes earlier.

"Traffic started stopping and slowing down for the initial crash that happened at the 20 mile marker," said Lukas. "At that point was when one of the semis in the outside lane came down and failed to stop and struck seven other vehicles."

The first crash happened when a Honda Accord hit a Toyota 4runner after the right rear tire blew out on the Honda Accord.

"After he struck the barrier wall, he rotated back into the roadway. the 4Runner at that time was clipped and that's the vehicle that overturned. A [person named] Carl Bittle was life flighted from that crash," Lukas explained.

The driver of the semi that is believed to have started the second crash, 54 year-old Zemir Malkoc, was taken to South Georgia Medical Center for treatment.

82 year-old Ray Anderson was riding with his son, Steven Anderson, in a Ford F250 pulling a camper, one of the seven other vehicles involved in the crash. Ray was killed and Steven was taken to SGMC.

Ronald and Tamara Balzer, from Tennessee, were traveling with their 3 year-old grand daughter Hayleigh Fowler, of Florida. The white Chevy Impala they were in was also caught up in the wreck. All three were killed.

Lukas said the driver of the semi could face charges, pending the accident investigation, but it could be months before that investigation is complete.

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