Fiery crash on I-75 near Perry snarls traffic

PERRY — An early morning crash Tuesday on Interstate 75 involving two tractor-trailers started a fire and snarled traffic but the drivers walked away with only minor injuries, authorities said.

According to the Georgia Department of Transportation Web site, the 6:15 a.m. crash at exit 135, the Ga. 127/Marshallville Road exit, initially blocked all northbound lanes. Houston County 911 Sgt. Robb McInvale said only the two drivers were involved in the crash and both were transported to Perry Hospital for only minor injuries.

Michael Gene Friedman, 45, of Live Oak, Fla., was cited for following too closely in the northbound lane after the Preferred Pine Straw tractor-trailer he was driving rear-ended another tractor-trailer, said Georgia State Patrol Trooper Darryl Clark. The other tractor-trailer, which was carrying corn seed for McLendon Acres Incorporated, was driven by Johnnie Lee Oliver, 73, of Leary, Ga.

The front motor of the Preferred Pine Straw tractor-trailer caught on fire from the impact of the crash, which resulted in the entire vehicle catching fire, Clark said. The tractor-trailer was destroyed in the fire, which actually damaged the surface of I-75 and had to be repaired Tuesday, Clark said.

All three northbound lanes were closed for about two hours, Clark said. Traffic was back to normal by Tuesday afternoon.