Details emerge on I-20 crash that killed 2, injured 2

Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 7:50 PM EDT
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TALIAFERRO COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Two people were killed when a van slammed into the back of a big-rig on a rural stretch of Interstate 20, authorities said,

The crash happened just after 6:45 p.m. Thursday on westbound I-20 around mile marker 152 in Taliaferro County near the Warren County line.

According to the Taliaferro County Coroner’s Office, the 15-passenger van ran into the back of an 18-wheeler.

The Georgia State Patrol said the tractor-trailer was slowing in the right lane due to traffic ahead and was struck in the rear by the van, which was pulling a trailer.

After impact, the engine compartment of the van caught fire.

The fire was extinguished by the driver of the tractor-trailer.

The driver of the van and front-seat passenger were killed as a result of the crash. There were two other occupants in the van, and both were transported to hospitals.

This was the scene after a 15-passenger van slammed into a big-rig on Oct. 15, 2020, in...
This was the scene after a 15-passenger van slammed into a big-rig on Oct. 15, 2020, in Taliaferro County.(WRDW)

The driver of the van was a 36-year-old male, according to GSP. As of Friday morning, the Taliaferro County Coroner’s Office had not released the identity of the driver and the other person who was killed.

The other occupants of the van have not been identified.

The crash is still under investigation, and reports are not complete, but GSP wasn’t aware of any road construction, rain or debris in the roadway that might have been contributing factors.

We don’t know who the van was registered to, but GSP said it was not a church.

All westbound lanes were blocked for a time after the crash.

By about 10:30 p.m., authorities had cleared the scene, where the van — with heavy front-end damage and a partially caved in roof — could be seen on the grass next to the highway.

The crash happened on a highway that’s gotten a lot of attention in recent weeks over the number of crashes there, some of them deadly.

This crash was several miles west of the stretch that’s gotten the most attention, a 15-mile area from Exit 190 to Exit 175 where there have been 337 accidents since September 2017, five of them fatal.

One of the most recent deadly crashes claimed the lives of two Fulton County deputies at Exit 190 into Grovetown, raising questions about how the trend can be stopped. A former deputy who used to work in the Grovetown area blamed speeding, last-minute lane changes and drivers who don’t slow down for construction as factors in a problem he said has worsened in the past decade.

The crashes have even led to changes in how highway maintenance work is being done in the fast-growing area west of Augusta. For the first time in recent memory, it’s being done at night.

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