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Truck Accident Forced Closure of Interstate I-16 in Georgia, Highlighting Dangers of Hopper Trucks on Roadways

Photo Credit: CBS Atlanta

A tractor-trailer with a bed similar to a dump truck slammed into a bridge that runs over a portion of Georgia’s I-16 on July 15, 2021. The accident, which occurred overnight, caused significant structural damage and forced the bridge to be demolished in order for the interstate to reopen.

CBS Atlanta reported that the truck accident occurred in Treutlen County. The crash caused the bridge to move from its supports by six feet, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). Traffic was shut down in both directions. Drivers were encouraged to find alternative routes.

GDOT sent crews to the truck accident site to prepare the demolition of the overpass including the “mobilization of specialized demolition equipment.” The full reopening was expected to take nearly a week, but opened ahead of schedule on July 19.

Further reporting by WGXA News revealed that the 40-year-old driver of the truck was driving on an expired license when the crash occurred and had been cited for that violation. The driver also had a passenger in the truck with him. The crash occurred at about 1:00 a.m. when the chassis of the truck “veered across the interstate, median, and opposite lanes of traffic” before stopping. The truck, called a hopper truck, is owned by Brown’s Clearing, Inc., an Alabama company. The truck driver was lucky to survive the crash.

Why are hopper trucks dangerous?

Hopper trucks, like the one involved in the accident, are primarily used to transport agricultural products  and other bulk commodity products, according to Hauling Grain, that can be “loaded and unloaded through the trailer.” It’s not clear why the bed of the truck involved in the I-16 accident was raised while in transit.

Grain hopper trucks, which are often used with agricultural machinery to harvest a field, usually have a rolling tarp on the trailer’s top to help load/unload the grain or other products. Hauling Grain also says hopper trucks utilize two hoppers on the base of the trailer to unload to product — one servicing the rear half of the trailer, the other the front half. The output of these hoppers is usually controlled by a sliding plate on the base of the hopper and a user-operated crank handle.

I-16 is a busy, dangerous highway

Interstate 16 is a major route that connects much of Georgia to the coastline. I-16 is a popular route many people take when traveling from Atlanta to Savannah. The bridge/overpass in Treutlen County is located about 150 miles southeast of Atlanta.

The truck accident that destroyed the overpass is not the only major accident on I-16 in July 2021. WSAV reported that a driver was killed going the wrong way on I-16 just eight days after the overpass accident. The car accident happened on the interstate near Garden City and I-516 at about 1:45 am.

The Georgia State Patrol reported that a driver of a BMW was traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes of I-16 and struck a garbage truck head-on – killing the driver of the BMW. A passenger in the BMW was taken to Memorial Health for injuries that were believed to be non-life threatening.  The garbage truck driver didn’t suffer any injuries, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

Why you want an experienced Georgia truck accident attorney on your side

Truck accident claims can be complicated because there are a number of potentially liable parties. The injuries they cause are often catastrophic, if not fatal. At Harris Lowry Manton LLP, our skilled truck accident lawyers have a strong record of success in obtaining verdicts and settling truck accident claims, including:

  • $11.5 million for a woman hit by a U.S. Postal Service (USPS) truck. The employee drove his truck negligently. The accident caused the woman, who was 8 1/2 months pregnant, to go into premature labor. The mother suffered severe injuries and the son was born with brain damage. We used forensic evidence to show the postal driver caused the accident.
  • $6.1 million in a wrongful death case involving a heavy truck.
  • $4.95 million for a wrongful death involving a tractor-trailer case.
  • $1.8 million settlement for a woman who suffered a serious injury in a trucking accident.
  • $1.5 million for a truck crash where our client required back surgery.
  • $1.5 million in a claim where a tractor-trailer company failed to maintain its vehicle, resulting in our client suffering a leg injury from a collision.

The respected, experienced attorneys at Harris Lowry Manton LLP promptly investigate the cause of your truck accident. We seek to hold responsible parties accountable including the truck driver, the owners of the truck, the company that hired the truck to make a delivery, the shipping broker, the manufacturers of defective truck parts, and any other defendants.

We file wrongful death claims on behalf of the families of anyone who died in a truck crash. On behalf of survivors, we demand compensation for all your economic and noneconomic damages, including your pain and suffering. To discuss your rights when a truck accident causes harm, call our Atlanta office at 404-998-8847, our Savannah office at 912-417-3774, or fill out our contact form to arrange to speak with our experienced truck accident lawyers.

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