(Newnan, Georgia – August 7, 2013)
The enjoyment of a family sharing the father’s work experience during summer vacation turned into a tragic nightmare early Wednesday morning at about 5:08 A.M. in Coweta County, GA community of Newnan. The driver of a sleeper-cab equipped 18-wheeler flatbed hauling granite sheetrock became temporarily stuck at the crossing of Arbor Springs Parkway/Sharpsburg- McCollom Road (Georgia Highway 14/29) and CSX railroad tracks and was struck and dragged approximately a quarter of a mile with the entire family entrapped inside the sleeper cab.
Law enforcement officials were not giving out specific identifications, but did say emergency responders were forced to use a hydraulic tool to remove a portion of the driver’s seat to remove the father, the most seriously injured, so he could be flown to Atlanta’s Grady Hospital for treatment of what was believed to be a broken leg. The mother and the three young children were transported by ground ambulance to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta – Egleston for treatment of their injuries.
The semi-trailer and its load were virtually destroyed, while the driver/owner/operator’s tractor sustained heavy, but reparable, damage. In these cases, which epitomize both the opportunity and the risk factor involved when the trucker – the small business owner – will be unable to make a living until his injuries heal and his rig can be repaired or replaced.
Although speculation ranged from failed brakes to getting hung up on the roadways’ surface as possible causes for the potential tragedy, it was at least known from films of the scene that the crossing was equipped with overhead cantilever crossing lights and had no obvious recent record of accidents.
The crossing and the four roads leading into it were still closed for investigation by mid-day.