5 killed in 2 crashes that shut down I-285 for hours

Credit: WSB 24-hour Traffic Center

Credit: WSB 24-hour Traffic Center

Five people were killed in two crashes that caused extreme delays on I-285 through DeKalb County for much of the Monday morning rush.

The first crash shut down the outer loop before Moreland Avenue about 1 a.m., and the interstate remained closed for nearly six hours. Four men were killed in the wreck, which involved at least four vehicles, according to DeKalb police spokeswoman Michaela Vincent. They were identified Thursday as Cobb resident Robert Dupree, 32, and DeKalb residents Roberto Johns, 47, Deljuane Mitchell III, 19, and Damaje Favre, 17.

Two others were taken to hospitals with life-threatening injuries, including the driver police believe to be at fault. The fifth victim remained in the hospital Thursday, Vincent said.

“A total of five people were struck while outside their vehicles at the time of the accident,” she said.

Authorities closed all eastbound lanes while they investigated. Even after lanes began reopening at 6:40 a.m., “extreme delays” remained all along the Perimeter, according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center.

During the shutdown, outer loop traffic was being forced off at Jonesboro Road. At one point, the trip on I-285 from I-20 to I-85 was a slow 95 minutes on the Eastside, the Traffic Center reported.

Commuters who made it past the first deadly outer loop crash scene encountered a second near Lawrenceville Highway. A man was killed about 4 a.m. after he got out of his vehicle to change a tire, Vincent said.

“The victim, a male, was changing his flat tire near the median wall when he was struck by a vehicle,” she said in an email. “He was transferred to a local hospital, where he died.”

His name has not been released.

That scene did not clear until 7:20 a.m., according to the Traffic Center.

Both crashes remain under investigation. It was unknown if traffic investigators would be seeking charges in either incident.

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