Update #1: Interstate 85 Traffic Fatality Accident
Update #1: The preliminary investigation into this incident has revealed more details into the circumstances surrounding the accident. Emerald Lynn (age 31, Norcross) was driving a silver Volkswagen Passat, and was stopped in the second from the right lane after having just been involved in a separate traffic accident. Yonas Worku (age 44, Snellville) was driving a Freightliner truck pulling a fuel tanker trailer containing approximately 8500 pounds of fuel. Worku approached the rear of Lynn’s stopped vehicle, and for unknown reasons, was unable to stop or avoid a collision.
After the initial collision, both vehicles separated from each other before the tanker truck spun sideways across four lanes of traffic, causing it to flip multiple times. Both vehicles came to rest adjacent to one another, and both were quickly engulfed in flames. Both Lynn and Worku died from injuries sustained during the incident.
In total, Interstate 85 northbound was shutdown either completely, or partially, for approximately 10 hours. Emergency paving was conducted at the accident scene to repair damage to the roadway before it was re-opened at approximately 6:00 PM.
(Norcross, Georgia) Gwinnett County Police responded to reports of a traffic accident involving multiple vehicles on Interstate 85 northbound near Jimmy Carter Boulevard at approximately 7:50 am. While arriving to the scene, officers observed a large explosion from the area of the reported accident. When they arrived they located an overturned tanker truck and a passenger car fully engulfed in flames. Fire crews from both Gwinnett County and Dekalb County responded to the scene. All of Interstate 85 northbound was shut down at that time, with traffic being diverted onto Pleasantdale Road.
The unidentified flammable liquid from the tanker quickly drained into a nearby storm drain. As a result, fire spread underground in the storm drain further south on Interstate 85, even crossing underneath Interstate 85 southbound, and exiting a storm drain near Crescent Drive. This resulted in multiple fires and large smoke stacks on and around both Interstate 85 northbound and southbound. As a result, traffic on Interstate 85 southbound was diverted onto Beaver Ruin Road. Several drivers that were stopped on the Interstate were evacuated on foot from their vehicle and took cover behind nearby business. Fire personnel addressed all active fires until it was contained to the accident scene and eventually completely extinguished.
Gwinnett County’s Accident Investigation Unit responded to investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident. There have been 2 confirmed fatalities at this time. The identities of those individuals are still being investigated and will be released upon next of kin notification.