A Maryland family is mourning the death of a 31-year-old mother, who was killed in a fiery crash involving a fuel tanker on I-85 in Gwinnett County.
Emerald Lynn moved with her two children to Norcross from Maryland last year, her family told Channel 2 Action News. However, she was one of the two people killed in the Saturday morning crash, which her family is calling a freak accident.
“It was pretty devastating to see and to watch and to look at in general.” Samira Jackson, Lynn’s sister, told Channel 2. “It was a tremendous loss, and it was very sad, but I don’t think anybody is really angry.”
Credit: Channel 2 Action News
Credit: Channel 2 Action News
The wreck shut down northbound travel on the interstate for about 10 hours as firefighters battled massive fires that were fueled by the the tanker’s 8,500-pound shipment of gasoline and diesel fuel, AJC.com previously reported.
Enormous flames and thick black smoke could be seen miles from the crash scene, which was near Jimmy Carter Boulevard. Fuel from the tanker also entered a nearby storm drain, allowing the fire to spread to the interstate’s southbound lanes. As a precaution, people were evacuated from their cars and nearby businesses on the access roads, authorities said.
Lynn’s family said it is difficult to even look at pictures of the crash or its fiery aftermath.
“It’s been hard on everybody,” Cassandra Young, Lynn’s mother, told Channel 2.
According to law enforcement offices’ investigation into the crash, Lynn was driving a Volkswagen Passat and had stopped in the second from the right lane after having just been involved in a separate crash. Yonas Worku, 44, of Snellville, was driving a Freightliner truck and was unable to stop of avoid a collision with Lynn’s stopped vehicle.
The wreck caused the tanker truck to spin sideways across four lanes of traffic and flip multiple times, authorities said. The two vehicles were then quickly engulfed in flames.
Lynn and Worku died from injuries sustained during the incident.
According to a GoFundMe Page, Worku was born in Ethiopia and is survived by his wife and three young children. The page described him as, "A beloved father and a wonderful husband. A rock to his family. A wise man beyond his age, who always put the needs of others before his own."
For Lynn’s family, they’re just trying to remember the little things about their loved one that they’ll never get back.
“Her smile, her personality, her love,” Jackson said. “She was a good person. She was very family-oriented. She cared about our family a whole lot.”
They also created a GoFundMe page to help pay for Lynn's funeral costs. As of Wednesday night, the Worku's page had raised more than $26,700, and Lynn's page had raised about $1,400.
Zachary Hansen, a Georgia native, covers economic development and commercial real estate for the AJC. He's been with the newspaper since 2018 and enjoys diving into complex stories that affect people's lives.