William Aaron Whitaker
Photo: Hightower Family Funeral Homes
Photo: Hightower Family Funeral Homes

20-year-old killed in fiery I-20 wreck was UGA student

The 20-year-old killed in a tractor-trailer crash that blocked I-20 for hours was identified as a University of Georgia student, the university confirmed. 

William Aaron Whitaker of Carrollton died Thursday night in the fiery crash that shut down the interstate between I-285 and Fulton Industrial Boulevard for about 10 hours, UGA spokesman Greg Trevor told AJC.com. 

MORE: Florida man charged in deadly crash that shut down I-20 for hours

Whitaker was a sophomore exercise science and athletic training student, according to an obituary on the Hightower Family Funeral Homes website. 

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Mario Vilan Polier, 53, of Hialeah, Fla., faces charges of improper lane change, following too closely and second-degree homicide by vehicle in connection with the incident. 

Mario Vilan Polier (Photo: Fulton County Sheriff's Office)

Polier’s tractor-trailer is accused of overturning onto its passenger side while traveling on I-20 East around 7:30 p.m., crashing into a concrete barrier between the eastbound and westbound lanes, the Georgia State Patrol said. Debris from the concrete barrier went into the westbound lanes, striking two vehicles.

One of those vehicles was Whitaker’s, who died at the scene, the GSP said. Three other people were also injured in the crash, but their conditions were not released.

The deadly wreck shut down all eastbound I-20 lanes and all but one westbound lane, and it brought traffic to a standstill on I-20 back to Thornton Road, according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center

Polier is in the Fulton County Jail on a $35,000 bond, according to records. He also has a hold placed on him by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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