Death Toll of Fiery Tanker Wreck on I-16 Rises to Four | News
Four people are confirmed dead in a fiery multi-car pile-up on I-16, the Laurens County coroner Richard Stanley says.
They are Michael Jerome Smith of Covington, Joel Moore of Effingham County, and a Dublin couple, Clayton and Josephine Warnock.
THURSDAY UPDATE: I-16 Lane May Be Closed Through Weekend
Nine were injured according to the Georgia State Patrol, which reported the accident involved four separate crashes with a total of 27 vehicles.
That included seven commercial vehicles, one of which was the empty gasoline tanker that caught fire.
The state patrol says the accident happened on a foggy morning with some smoke blowing across the highway. They say that probably contributed to the accident.
"As of right now we have smoke that was across the roadway fog but we have not confirmed that, but we do have smoke that was across the road," said Captain Kirk McGlamery of Georgia State Patrol.
According to 911 dispatch, firefighters from multiple agencies battled fires on the scene.
According to the Georgia State Patrol, as of 8:30 p.m., all lanes traveling east and westbound were open.
Nine injured people were taken to Fairview Park Hospital in Dublin.
The accident happened just after 8 a.m. on the westbound side of I-16.
Martha Strickland of Dublin told 13WMAZ that she and her daughter drove through around 8:30 a.m. on the eastbound side of I-16 which was clear but clouded with smoke.
"We could just see the devastation and it was just heartbreaking you know it looked like a war zone," said Strickland. "My daughter wanted to stop and help but I said no that truck may explode any minute because it was a tanker."
The tanker had not exploded, she says, but the truck cab was on fire as was the car ahead of and behind it.
Regarding reports of the fatalities, Strickland says, "If only three people died, it will be a miracle. It was just destruction. It was like a war zone."