Houston & Peach

One dead in multiple-vehicle crashes on Interstate 75 in Houston County

Traffic on northbound I-75 slows in the vicinity of the 131- mile marker just north of the Firetower Road bridge where a couple of accidents claimed one life early Wednesday.
Traffic on northbound I-75 slows in the vicinity of the 131- mile marker just north of the Firetower Road bridge where a couple of accidents claimed one life early Wednesday. bcabell@macon.com

One person is dead and others injured in related multiple-vehicle crashes early Wednesday on Interstate 75 in Houston County that closed both north and southbound lanes for several hours.

The incident location was at mile markers 131 near Fire Tower Road.

The Georgia State Patrol is investigating the incident as two separate crashes, said Tracey Watson, a public information officer for the Georgia State Patrol.

The preliminary investigation indicates that two pick-up trucks traveling southbound on I-75 had a rear-end collision about 5:53 a.m., which resulted in debris traveling across the southbound lanes into the northbound lanes, Watson said via an email. One of the pick-up truck drivers was injured and transported to Macon Medical.

Two tractor-trailer drivers who were driving northbound witnessed the crash on the southbound side. One driver pulled his truck onto the west shoulder, and the other pulled onto the east shoulder. A FedEx truck traveling northbound on the east shoulder struck the tractor trailer that had stopped on the east shoulder in the rear. After impact, the FedEx truck jackknifed and struck another tractor-trailer in the rear that was traveling northbound in the middle lane, Watson said.

One of the tractor-trailer drivers, Don Combs, 66, of Hazard, Kentucky, who had pulled over earlier on the east shoulder after witnessing the initial crash, was outside of his truck and was struck by the FedEx truck. He was fatally injured, Watson said. The FedEx driver was injured and transported to Perry Hospital.

Rain and fog were factors in the crashes, Watson said.

The GSP Specialized Reconstruction Team is conducting a follow-up investigation. Charges are pending, Watson said.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559, or find her on Twitter@becpurser.

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