In the fourth wrong-way crash in two weeks in the metro Atlanta area, two people died after a head-on collision Wednesday afternoon in south Fulton County.
A driver heading southbound in the northbound lanes of I-85 collided head-on with another vehicle, killing the wrong-way driver and passenger of the second vehicle, a man from upstate New York.
Calls to Fulton County 911 operators painted a grim picture.
“The car just totally disintegrated. … It just blew up,” one caller said in a recording obtained from Fulton County police by Newstalk WSB. “The driver of that truck is dead. There’s no way he lived.”
The two pickup trucks wrecked about 3:20 p.m. Wednesday on I-85 near the exit to Old National Highway and the I-285 interchange, shutting down I-85 in both directions, Fulton County police spokeswoman Melissa Parker told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The wrong-way driver was killed, Parker said. The driver still had not been identified as of Thursday night.
The passenger in the second pick-up, 49-year-old Christopher O’Day of Canastota, N.Y., died at Grady Memorial Hospital, according to the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The driver of that vehicle, Gary A. Tucker, 62, of Ilion, N.Y., was hurt but not seriously, Parker said.
It was unclear where the wrong-way vehicle entered the highway. But the 911 caller described seeing the incident unfold.
“I just watched a truck just running down the wrong lane,” the caller said. “He just ran head-on. … it turned into a fireball. … Oh, my God.”
He told the emergency operator he saw the small pick-up truck race by from the direction of Old National Highway.
“This truck was hauling southbound on the northbound lane, and he dodged a couple of people, and then he ran head-long into some kind of commercial truck,” the caller said.
Parker said a second wreck on the southbound side of I-85 blocked traffic as well for a time.
In an earlier wrong-way wreck, five people were hurt Friday evening when a vehicle traveling west in the eastbound lane of Ga. 316 at Winder Highway in Gwinnett County hit an oncoming car head-on. Two people were critically injured, and a 12-year-old child was transported to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.
Police said the wrong-way driver, 37-year-old Beverly Wilkins, may have been under the influence of the sedative Propofol.
Early Friday morning, Carlyn Emily Royball, 22, of Alpharetta, was killed when she wrecked her car after heading north in the southbound lane of Ga. 400 between Holcomb Bridge and Northridge roads in Sandy Springs. Her car hit an SUV driven by B98.5 FM morning show co-host Kelly Stevens. Stevens suffered several broken bones.
The early morning of Aug. 15, two people were killed when Frampere Ingle drove south in the northbound lane of Ga. 400 from Lenox Road in Buckhead and hit Eric Hanks’ vehicle. Hanks died at the scene, and Ingle died later at Grady Memorial Hospital.
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— Dispatch editors Angel K. Brooks and David Ibata contributed to this article.