Covington man among those killed in fiery interstate pileup - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Covington man among those killed in fiery interstate pileup

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A truck driver from Covington is among the four people killed Wednesday in a fiery, chain-reaction pileup on I-16 near Macon.

State patrol officials said the dead include Michael Jarome Smith, 52, of Covington; Jeff Moore of Effingham County; and Clayton and Josephine Warnock of Dublin.

Authorities are blaming the pileup on poor visibility caused by smoke from controlled burns combined with foggy conditions.

The first accident near Montrose on Interstate 16, a major artery between Savannah and Macon, caused a chain reaction of ten wrecks involving 27 vehicles.

Seven commercial vehicles, including a petroleum tanker truck that caught fire, were involved in the crashes. Officers said the tanker truck was empty, but the fumes inside caused the fire and spread to at least four other vehicles.

Nine people were taken to Medical Center of Central Georgia and one person was airlifted to Macon Medical Center. Officers said that person was listed in critical condition.

Roughly 100 fire and police personnel responded to the scene after the crash.

Authorities said several lives were saved because drivers immediately got out of their vehicles and moved to a safe area.

The eastbound lanes of I-16 were reopened at 1 p.m. On Thursday, one westbound lane will remain closed until at least noon.

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