A car crash that caused a large fire in the Atlanta area has left at least two people dead near interstate 85. The fire also spread to nearby parts of the city before it was extinguished.
Police find two deceased individuals and a tanker fire on the scene
Gwinnett County Police responded to Interstate 85 early in the morning in the suburban section of Atlanta to find a severe collision.
Law enforcement officers on the scene believe that the incident started when a large truck pulling several thousand tons of fuel in a tanker was near the Jimmy Carter Boulevard Interchange. The Freightliner truck collided into the rear end of a Volkswagen Passat that was stopped on the highway because it had already been involved in another less serious accident.
The formal police report says that after the tanker made contact with the other vehicle, it went on its side and flipped several times. Four lanes of traffic were blocked from the wreckage and both vehicles went up in flames while lying next to each other. The drivers of both vehicles died on the scene of the truck accident. They were identified as a 31 year old woman and a 44 year old man.
Police believe that fuel began to spill out of the tanker right after the initial impact. The liquid went into several storm drains in the area and ignited, causing a large series of flames to form along the interstate. The blaze quickly spread, and fire was spotted in nearby areas coming from underneath manhole covers and catching onto brush.
The section of the road where the accident happened needed to remain closed for several hours while the area was cleared and secured. Traffic was affected for a significant portion of the day. While fire crews from multiple nearby departments were called to the scene, many drivers who were trapped on the interstate had to evacuate their vehicles and leave the area on foot. Some of the pedestrians hid behind buildings and businesses in the area for cover.
Gwinnett County officers commented that the area was affected and roads were shut down for about ten hours in total while all of this was going on. Photos of the scene showed traffic on the multiple lane highway at a standstill.
Interstate 85 has a history of creating serious problems for the Atlanta metro area. A 2017 accident resulted in an elevated part of the road collapsing, where a two mile stretch of the road had to be closed for months while repairs were made.
The aftermath of a serious multi-car accident and legal action
When people die or experience serious injuries due to a motor vehicle accident, it is common for both insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits to follow the incident. Even when someone has died, their family still has an opportunity to file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf against the person or business who is responsible. The business that owns the tanker truck involved in this incident may end up paying out large claims to the deceased driver or others who were injured during the course of the day.