GAINESVILLE - A preliminary accident report indicates an F-150 pickup truck turned in front of a tractor trailer on Ga. Highway 365 Friday morning, causing a chain reaction accident that killed three people.
Gainesville Police Cpl. Kevin Holbrook said the pickup truck was southbound on Ga. 365 and attempted a left turn on Howard Road at the Race Trac convenience store, pulling into the path of the northbound tractor trailer.
Holbrook said the two occupants of the pick-up were killed.
The third victim was a passenger in a Ford Escape that crashed into the trailer of the rig after the initial accident.
"The Ford Escape was unaware of the situation, of course due to the darkness, and struck the rear of the trailer, causing fatal injuries to the passenger of that vehicle," said Holbrook.
The driver of the Ford Escape was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center with critical injuries. Holbrook said the driver of the tractor trailer was trapped in the cab of the truck and was rescued by employees of the Rac Trac; he is said to be in critical condition.
In addition, four occupants of an SUV sitting on Howard Road waiting to turn onto the highway became entangled in the accident. All four of those occupants, including two children, were taken to the hospital for treatment, according to Holbrook.
Holbrook said law enforcement and first responders were on the scene of the accident for nearly nine hours. In addition to recovering the bodies of those who died and rescuing the six people who were hurt, crews had to clean a fuel spill.
Plus, he said the tractor trailer from Fieldale Farms that had to be uprighted.
"The truck was a refrigerated truck -it was fully loaded with frozen chicken - and of course, it was overturned," said Holbrook.
The names of those involved in the crash have not been released, pending notification of relatives.
The intersection of Ga. Highway 365 and Howard Road has been the site of a numbers of accidents - more than a dozen in 2012 - and a traffic light was recently placed at the intersection with the goal of making the area more safe for motorists.