An 18-wheeler drove off of a bridge on the interstate and into a canal at approximately 3:51 a.m. on Thursday June 26, 2014, in Augusta, Ga. The accident only involved the cab of the 18-wheeler; it was not hauling a trailer at the time of the accident. The big rig was eastbound on I-20 headed toward South Carolina from Georgia at the time of the crash. The vehicle was completely submerged in the Augusta Canal.
Initially the driver was missing from the scene, but the Richmond County Sheriff’s office and the Augusta Fire Department confirmed that the body of the driver was found that afternoon. He has since been identified as 48-year old Cedric Miller from Hartsville, S.C.
WFXG News reports this is not the first time an 18-wheeler has gone off the I-20 bridge at the location of the Augusta Canal. There was a similar accident in August 2012, but the driver in that incident survived. Other truck drivers told WFXG reporters it’s a dangerous stretch of road.
“It’s rough out here and especially at night, you know its dark, especially on I-20,” driver Deanna Fralin told the news. “It’s a dark long stretch of highway that’ll eat you alive if you let it.”
Fralin said dangers for commercial drivers are ever-present, and it’s up to the individual to be vigilant about safety. “You think nothings going to happen to you, but anything can happen,” Fralin said. “A tire can blow, you can doze off, an animal, another car. You just have to stay alert at all times.”
Shortly after the crash, Allen Saxon with the Augusta Utilities Department told WJBF News Channel 6 reporter Margaret-Ann Carter he was very concerned because the Augusta Canal is the city’s main water supply. He said department personnel were doing everything they could to ensure that the water levels remained the same and that the drinking water did not become contaminated during the rescue and recovery efforts. While the problem is being resolved the city is using a diesel pump to get water from the Savannah River, which could cost the city up to $10,000 per day to run.