A passenger in a U-Haul truck was killed Thursday in a horrific crash on Interstate 75 in Monroe County.
The 26-year-old Macon man likely died instantly, Monroe County Coroner Joey Proctor said after seeing the wreckage.
Just before 10:15 a.m., the U-Haul clipped a tractor-trailer that was parked in the right emergency lane with a blown tire near mile marker 180, Monroe County sheriff’s Sgt. Lawson Bittick said.
“It ripped the entire passenger side of the U-Haul vehicle where the deceased passenger was sitting,” Bittick said from the scene. “The vehicle was basically just cut in half.”
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The victim was later identified as Letian Qiu, of Pebblebrook Lane in Bibb County, Bittick said.
The U-Haul was southbound in the right-hand lane and veered off the highway for some reason, striking the driver’s side of the truck, which was carrying some sort of combustible material, Bittick said. First responders took extra care due to the cargo.
After hitting the truck, the U-Haul veered left, crashing into a white passenger van that landed upside down on the left shoulder of the road just south of Rumble Road.
A brown Kia also was involved in the crash, Bittick said.
Four people were injured and three were taken to the Medical Center, Navicent Health, although the extent of their injuries was not immediately known.
The crash blocked all lanes of the highway.
Monroe County sheriff’s deputies opened the left lane of traffic just before 12:30 p.m. to allow backed-up traffic to proceed.
Only one right lane remained closed into the early afternoon.