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5 people hurt as tractor trailer slams into stopped traffic at highway construction site

‘All a blur,’ driver says after wood smashes window in 5 vehicle crash

A semi truck crashed into vehicles stopped for highway construction on Ga. 49 in Jones County near Mattie Wells Elementary at about 11a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30,2018.
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A semi truck crashed into vehicles stopped for highway construction on Ga. 49 in Jones County near Mattie Wells Elementary at about 11a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30,2018.

Five people were rushed to the hospital after a tractor trailer caused a chain reaction crash Tuesday morning on Ga. 49 in Jones County.

Jourdan Eich, a nursing student from Gray, was sitting in traffic awaiting the flag man to clear oncoming traffic at about 11 a.m.

“I heard a huge crash behind me and then suddenly I got hit and I just remember the semi truck blowing past me and into the ditch,” Eich said. “I didn’t know what happened. It was one of those things that happened so fast.”

Eich thought the impact of the collision smashed her back windshield until she learned a piece of lumber in her back seat.

The wood likely flew out of the back of a black Toyota pickup traveling behind her Nissan Altima.

The pickup took the brunt of the crash and flipped on its side near the entrance to Mattie Wells Elementary School in the 400 block of Ga. 49.

Eich heard screams for help from the couple in the truck and went to check the driver’s neurological status by asking him simple questions.

“He was answering OK. I think he was just in a little shock,” Eich said.

Workers from a nearby business helped the woman out of the vehicle, she said.

People also were hurt who were traveling in a Toyota Rav 4 and a Honda Accord.

All five were taken to Medical Center, Navicent Health, but the injuries were not expected to be life-threatening.

Jones County sheriff’s deputy Robert Land said all of the vehicles were headed south on Ga. 49 as a Gilder Creek Farms truck from Mauldin, SC, topped the hill and came up on the stopped traffic.

The driver tried to avoid the collision but was not able to stop in time, Land said.

He cautioned motorists to slow down in that construction zone.

“It really makes a difference in your ability to stop,” Land said. “Be alert and be aware at all times.”

The highway was closed for about 90 minutes following the five-vehicle wreck.

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