Moultrie Observer

Local News

August 19, 2013

Two semis, milk truck collide

Grinding crash sends three people to hospital

MOULTRIE — Two semis and a Mayfield milk truck collided just before noon Monday at the intersection of Highway 133 North and Highway 319. Three people were injured, including one who was airlifted from the scene.

An off-duty fire inspector and two other bystanders pulled the driver of the milk truck from her vehicle, which caught fire, and he helped to extricate the driver of one of the semis.

A Moultrie police officer provided a bit of information at the scene, and the Georgia State Patrol — which is now leading the investigation — provided a bit more later in the afternoon, but neither offered a full report Monday. According to those sources, a truck coming from Tifton on Highway 319 ran the red light at the intersection and struck a truck heading north on Veterans Parkway/133 North. One of those two was the milk truck and the other was a semi pulling a tanker, but the GSP didn’t specify which was which.

The impact rolled the milk truck onto its side and the other truck slammed into the second semi, which was on 133 facing south. The MPD officer at the scene said it was stationary waiting for the light to change, but the trooper did not confirm that.

That’s when Chip Klaus drove up.

Klaus, a fire inspector at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, was one of the first people to arrive, he told The Observer later in the day. The milk truck already had a small fire, he said.

“I was able to get two bystanders to push me up onto the truck and get the girl out,” Klaus said.

The tanker truck was also smoking, so that’s where he went next.

“It wasn’t on fire but there was smoke all up under the bottom of it,” he said.

Klaus entered the truck through its windshield. The driver was hanging upside down from his seat belt, he said. He got a knife from one of the bystanders and cut the seat belt and eased the driver into a more comfortable position. By then, he said, the Moultrie Fire Department had arrived and he helped them put him on a back board and get him out of the truck.

Klaus, who is off-duty because of a knee injury, declined to answer questions about anything he saw at the wreck because the GSP had asked him not to discuss it.

One of the victims was taken from the scene by helicopter about an hour after the wreck. That person was believed to be the driver of the tanker truck that Klaus helped to extract, but no one had confirmed that as of press time. Bystanders said two other people were taken to the hospital by ambulance.

None of the injured were identified by law enforcement Monday, so their conditions could not be determined.

Colquitt County Coroner Verlyn Brock said Monday night that his office has not been called into the case, indicating that rumors of a fatality are unfounded.

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