ATLANTA. G.a — Two people died Saturday morning in a fiery crash on Interstate 85 in suburban Atlanta that shut down the busy highway for hours, according to Gwinnett County police.
The wreck and fires happened around 8 a.m. at the Jimmy Carter Boulevard interchange when a northbound Freightliner truck pulling a tanker trailer holding 8,500 pounds of fuel ran into the rear of a Volkswagen Passat that had stopped in a northbound lane after being involved in a separate traffic accident, police said in a news release.
The tanker truck spun sideways across four lanes of traffic and flipped over several times, police said. The car came to rest next to the tanker, and both vehicles quickly became engulfed in flames, police said.
The car’s driver, a 31-year-old woman, and the truck driver, a 44-year-old man, were killed, police said.
Police said the fuel leaked from the tanker, caught on fire and spread through a storm drain, resulting in multiple fires across the interstate. CNN affiliate WSB-TV reported that smoke and flames billowed from manhole covers and that flames caused a brush fire.
Drivers who stopped on the interstate evacuated their vehicles on foot and took cover behind a nearby business, police said. Firefighters from several departments arrived and put out the fires.
“In total, Interstate 85 northbound was shutdown either completely, or partially, for approximately 10 hours,” Gwinnett police said. “Emergency paving was conducted at the accident scene to repair damage to the roadway before it was re-opened at approximately 6 p.m.”