On Wednesday, five nursing students traveling to a Savannah hospital were killed in an interstate crash in southeast Georgia.
The accident occurred at 6 a.m. ET on Interstate 16. The victims, students at the Georgian Southern University, died as a result of a tractor-trailer failing to slow down and slamming into stop-and-go traffic. The tractor-trailer first smashed into an SUV and then rolled over and hit a passenger car, according to Chris Nease, Sgt. 1st Class of the Georgia State Patrol.
According to ABC News, Nease said, “Traffic was sort of stop-and-go when the tractor-trailer came along and struck one of the passenger vehicles in the rear.
“We’re still trying to piece it all together. It’s a terrible day.”
As road crews and tow trucks worked to clear the wreckage, passengers were stuck for over six hours on the route between Macon and Savannah. Further investigations continued even after the traffic was allowed to pass, as a six-mile stretch of eastbound Interstate 16 was cordoned off.
In a statement, President Brooks Kell of Georgia Southern in Statesboro said, “Every one of our students contributes in no small measure to the Eagle Nation.
“The loss of any student, especially in a tragic way, is particularly painful. Losing five students is almost incomprehensible.”
Nease said that the person behind the wheel of the tractor-trailer has not yet been accused of the accident. The name of the driver was not divulged.
Sgt. Chris Rodewolt of the State Patrol said the weather did not play a role in the accident.
“There was no fog or smoke. It was clear as a bell,” he said. “We did have heavy, heavy traffic.”
According to USA Today, the deceased were identified as Caitlyn Baggett of Millen, Morgan Bass of Leesburg, Emily Clark of Powder Springs, Abbie Deloach of Savannah, and Catherine Pittman of Alpharetta.
Three people sustained injuries in the accident. They were identified as Brittney McDaniel of Reidsville and Megan Richards of Loganville, while the third individual’s name was not divulged.
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