Raymond Macon was at the wheel of a flatbed truck headed south on U.S. 129, the road out of Eatonton, late Thursday morning.
As he approached the northern outskirts of Gray about 11 a.m. — there at the Jones County Animal Shelter, where the new bypass cuts across 129 — Macon stopped at a stop sign.
Bypass traffic does not have to stop at the crossroad there, and authorities said that Macon, as he pulled into the intersection, drove in front of an oncoming, loaded-down logging truck. The trucks collided in a fiery crash that killed Macon and the driver of the logging truck.
Macon, 33, and the logging truck’s driver, 54-year-old John Bunn of Forsyth, died at the scene, officials said.
“I don’t know if (Macon) didn’t see the log truck or if he thought the other traffic had to stop,” said Jones sheriff’s deputy Kenny Allen, a fatality investigator.
The log truck tipped over and slid into a ditch. The flatbed, its passenger side smashed, burst into flames.
“There were people trying to get the driver out and they were unsuccessful,” Allen said. “It was awful.”
No one else was riding in either truck.
Jones County deputy coroner Matt Jarratt pronounced the victims dead on the new highway that diverts trucks and other traffic around downtown Gray.
“It was as bad as you can imagine,” Jarratt said.