Georgia state troopers are looking for a hit-and-run driver of a tractor-trailer who left the scene of a fatal crash early Wednesday.
Traffic was halted about eight hours on Interstate 16 West as two big rigs and a Ford Explorer collided just after 5:20 a.m. near mile marker 13.
A witness might be able to identify the driver who fled, said Sgt. Lee Weaver of the Georgia State Patrol.
“He is considered a hit-and-run suspect,” Weaver said. “All we know of him right now is he’s a white male.”
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Just before 6 a.m., Macon-Bibb County firefighters were called to help with the multivehicle accident, in which a tractor-trailer driver out of Florida was killed.
Archie March, 57, of Homestead, Florida, was dead at the scene, Twiggs County Coroner Harold Reece said.
“Fire and EMS had to bring the Jaws of Life to cut the vehicle open,” Reece said.
His passenger, who was in the sleeping compartment, sustained nonfatal injuries.
The Twiggs County woman driving the Explorer also did not appear to suffer life-threatening injuries, even after her SUV flipped down the highway and landed upside down in the middle of the road.
“We’re lucky to have just one fatality,” Macon-Bibb Battalion Fire Chief Tim Johnson said after leaving the scene. “The cab was ripped completely off the truck.”
Debris from that white truck was scattered along the pavement.
The Explorer driver and the truck passenger were taken to the Medical Center, Navicent Health, in Macon, Weaver said.
No further information about the extent of their injuries was immediately available.
Their identities were not immediately released.
The Georgia State Patrol’s Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team reconstructed the crash.
“It’s still under investigation to find out the actual logistics of the crash,” Weaver said.
In a secondary accident, another truck driver initially said he stopped behind the Ford Explorer to keep other approaching vehicles from hitting her, but it was later determined that his truck actually hit the unoccupied Explorer and spun it around a little, Weaver said.
All westbound lanes were blocked until after 1 p.m. as troopers investigated the accident.
Westbound vehicles were detoured at Bullard Road about five miles east of the crash.
Twiggs County deputies also briefly closed the left eastbound lane to allow for some of the stalled westbound traffic to turn around at mile marker 14 and detour onto Bullard Road to Ga. 129, also known as the Cochran Short Route.
The left lane opened about 10 a.m. for the other westbound vehicles to go toward Macon through the wreck scene, but the interstate remained closed at Bullard Road for three more hours as the preliminary investigation concluded.