Driver in truck crash: “The world seem to come to an end.”

September 25, 2015 Atlanta, GA: Officials clean up the scene on GA 400 North bound where two trucks fell Friday September 25, 20115. A Publix truck carrying a load of candy bars and M&M's overturned on GA 400 Northbound. A second truck, carrying fuel. turned over on the embankment. Both drivers suffered non-life threatening injuries

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September 25, 2015 Atlanta, GA: Officials clean up the scene on GA 400 North bound where two trucks fell Friday September 25, 20115. A Publix truck carrying a load of candy bars and M&M's overturned on GA 400 Northbound. A second truck, carrying fuel. turned over on the embankment. Both drivers suffered non-life threatening injuries

Channel 2 Action News contributed to this report.

A few inches. That’s all it took to set off a chain reaction crash that sent two trucks hurtling off the I-285 overpass onto Ga. 400, ending - miraculously - with no one seriously hurt.

On Thursday, police for the first time explained how last week’s crash unfolded and explained that neither of the truck drivers was to blame. Instead, they said, Howard Silverstein, a 64-year-old retired recreation director in Duluth, triggered the crash. Silverstein was driving home last Friday when his Kia Sorento veered into the neighboring lane. It nipped the wheel of a semi truck, catapulting lunchtime traffic into a scene of highway chaos.

“The roads were wet. I bumped into the wheel of the Publix truck,” Silverstein told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an interview on Thursday. “Then the world seem to come to an end.”

A police report released Thursday details the rapid series of events that resulted in the incredible sight of trucks raining off the side of the Perimeter onto the thoroughfare below. It was an epic traffic event, stalling traffic for five hours, but in the end everyone was able to walk away. And Silverstein, well, he was cited for failing to maintain his lane.

“I was basically given a ticket,” said Silverstein, who’s lived in metro Atlanta for five years. He was happy no one was injured.

“I was very relieved. Very relieved,” he said.

In car crazy metro Atlanta, where drivers sometimes feel they live in their vehicles, this kind of slip might have happened to anyone. Who among us hasn’t spotted our tires inadvertently skimming over the white line. A gasp, a quick adjustment of the steering wheel, and the moment is forgotten.

The crash joins a growing list of colossal traffic disasters in Atlanta, whether it was the plane that crashed on I-285 in May, or last winter’s pedestrian fatalities that shut down the Perimeter, or last year’s historic tie-up Snowjam. Yet it was at once a significant roadway event and yet bizarrely benign in any longterm consequences.

Rob Abbott, who works on safety policy for the American Truck Associations, said drivers need to be extra careful around large trucks, as they have large blind spots and need greater distances to brake and stop.

“It’s tragic that this occurred,” he said, “and it’s fortunate that nobody was seriously injured.”

After the right front tire Silverstein’s Kia clipped the left front tire of the tractor-trailer, he watched the scene unfold in his rear-view mirror.

The tractor-trailer veered to the right and hit a fuel tanker, according to Sandy Springs police. The impact sent both trucks over the concrete barrier and onto Ga. 400.

The tractor-trailer, driven by Leroy Edwards of Lawrenceville, landed upside down on Ga. 400, striking a 2004 Honda Civic, according to police. The fuel tanker, driven by Michael Andre Bowden of Lithonia, slid down a grass embankment, coming to a rest against a guard rail.

The spectacular crash was captured on video released Thursday.

Despite the potential for a fuel spill, it was simply run-of-the-mill wreckage, that brought traffic to a standstill for hours.

Just before rush hour, lanes were re-opened in the area as the debris was pushed out of the way By then, some drivers had been sitting for hours and tempers flared. This wasn’t an average traffic jam, even by metro Atlanta standards.

Silverstein was cited and released at the scene. He is scheduled for court at 10 a.m. on Nov. 23.

He says he was just heading home. The impact flattened his tire and his car suffered some front-end damage. He hurt his right knee, which he had replaced two months ago.

He immediately pulled over and called 911. “I was pretty shook up,” he said.

Asked what he might say to the truckers, he responded, “It was an accident. It never should have happened. I apologize on my end.”

Since then, he hasn’t been able to feel confident behind the wheel, and only drives short distances.

He says it was a horrible day and he’ll regret it for the rest of his life.

“I’m glad everybody is OK,” he said. “Cars can be fixed, people can’t.”