A tractor-trailer driver has been charged with vehicular homicide and reckless driving after allegedly starting a serial crash on Interstate 16 in Macon, Georgia, that killed at least three people and critically injured at least three others.
Investigators were still sorting through the charred wreckage of at least 10 vehicles looking for bodies on the morning after the July 11 crash.
Authorities told The (Macon) Telegraph the chain-reaction crash started with a tractor-trailer that ran over a pickup truck and a car. A church van from the Greater New Friendship Baptist Church in Dublin, Georgia, was also involved in the pileup.
According to The Telegraph, two people were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, which happened around 5:30 p.m. in the westbound lanes of I-16 between the Ocmulgee East Blvd. and Sgoda Rd. exits. Those bodies were taken from the car and pickup truck that the tractor-trailer ran over and were burned beyond recognition.
Three people were rushed to the hospital in critical condition, one of whom died from crash injuries at the Navicent Health emergency room in Macon.
One person on the church bus had a heart attack, The Telegraph reported.
“There’s a body in the back of the pickup truck (and) we don’t know if it’s a human or an animal,” Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones told The Telegraph.
The driver of the tractor-trailer, identified as 49-year-old Gerard Thompson of Palmetto, Georgia, was arrested Tuesday night and charged with three counts of vehicular homicide and one count of reckless driving, the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
“It’s been a bad day for Macon-Bibb,” Mr. Jones told the press. He also touched on the epidemic of bad driving that is pushing fatal traffic crashes to their highest rates in decades, in Macon and across the country. “To be honest with you, it’s been a bad year for Macon-Bibb. We’ve had multiple fatalities like every month.”