Truck hauling explosives overturns during crash in North Georgia; woman arrested

The Dawson County highway was shut down for hours.

A busy Dawson County highway reopened Tuesday afternoon, nearly nine hours after a truck carrying mining explosives overturned just before the start of the morning commute.

A Buick sedan sideswiped the truck, which lost control on Ga. 53 west of Lake Lanier, according to the Georgia State Patrol. The Buick then sideswiped a Nissan Versa following behind the truck before colliding with a Dodge Charger.

State and local agencies shut down the highway between Dawson Forest and War Hill Park roads about 5:20 a.m. to investigate the wreck and clean up the spilled hazardous material.

Highway 53 East is closed between Dawson Forest Road East and War Hill Park Rd due to an overturned truck with Hazardous Materials involved. We expect it to be closed for several hours. Avoid the area.

Posted by Dawson County Fire and Emergency Services on Tuesday, September 10, 2019

It reopened just before 2 p.m., according to Dawson County Fire and Emergency Services.

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The 6,000-pound truck was carrying a petroleum-based ammonium nitrate manufactured by Austin Powder Company. Initially reported to be dynamite, it was later identified as Hydromite Advance 120, Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson told

The substance is commonly used in mining, quarry work and construction blasting. It was headed to a location in Pickens County, Dawson County fire Chief Danny Thompson said during a news conference.

“This product is actually used in lieu of dynamite and has been for about the last 15 to 20 years because it is very safe in transportation and just its general usage,” he said.

Motor vehicle fluids and about five gallons of the product spilled from the truck, but it was mostly contained to the roadway.

“There has been no spillage into any waterways to include Lake Lanier,” Thompson said.

Though the substance is not flammable in its current form, residents of a nearby subdivision were advised to shelter in place as a precaution during the cleanup.

Pamela D. Russell
Pamela D. Russell

The driver of the Buick, identified as 64-year-old Pamela D. Russell of Gainesville, was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of drugs and failure to maintain lane. She was taken to the Dawson County Jail.

Two men were taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center with minor injuries, and Russell and another woman refused treatment at the scene, Thompson said.

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