A Warner Robins man died Wednesday morning after running into the back of a disabled tractor-trailer stopped on Interstate 75, south of Hartley Bridge Road in south Bibb County.
Shortly before 10 a.m, Linwood Gantt Jr. was driving northbound in a GMC 2500 utility-type truck when he came up on a disabled 18-wheeler from the Nestle company.
Brandon Thompson, of Warner Robins, was in the car behind Gantt in the lane next to the far left lane.
“I jumped out and I ran to the door and I could see he was bleeding from the head, and all he could say was he couldn’t get out,” Thompson said.
The front of his truck looked like a crushed can, she said.
Other witnesses and bystanders started grabbing tools trying to free him.
“Even in the midst of the turmoil, all these men were giving it their all to get him out,” she said.
Firefighters had to extricate the 66-year-old Gantt from his truck.
He lost consciousness and they frantically performed CPR, she said.
“I knew it was bad when I saw him go limp and they had to pound on his chest,” Thompson said. “It’s a terrible feeling.”
Thompson hoped Gantt would recover as she waited at the scene to talk to Bibb County fatality investigators who were called due to Gantt’s grave condition.
She told them what she saw and heard.
“Apparently the Nestle truck hit part of another truck that was lying in the interstate,” Thompson said. “I don’t know if the hazard lights were on, but I didn’t see any lights on. To me, I just noticed it wasn’t moving so I slowed down. You could tell at the last minute this truck is not moving.”
It was too late for Gantt to avoid the crash, she said.
He was pronounced dead at The Medical Center of Central Georgia at 10:40 a.m., said Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones
The interstate was blocked for a couple of hours during the investigation and removal of the wrecked vehicles.
Bibb deputies rerouted traffic at Sardis Church Road.
A sheriff's office news release confirms the tractor trailer driven by a Florida man had a mechanical failure that brought the truck to a halt.
Thompson said she saw a shiny piece of metal in the road that might have damaged the truck.
She said the accident could have become a major pileup.
“The lady behind me had to swerve to keep from hitting me, and I had to swerve to keep from hitting him,” she said.
Gantt, who is retired, was on his way to Forsyth to repair the air conditioning at his church, Jones said.
Due to the lack of significant visible injuries, an autopsy will be performed, Jones said.
The Bibb County Sheriff's Office is urging anyone with information about the accident to call 478-751-7500.