The driver of a gravel truck traveling north lost control in a curve on a wet roadway, Georgia State Patrol trooper Scott Smith said.
“His statement was that he observed (a) van was across the center line and he applied the brakes and the trailer began to (jackknife),” Smith said.
The truck was a 2007 Mack tractor, which was pulling an empty 28-foot dump trailer, he said.
The truck slid into the southbound lane and the van struck the left side of the trailer, Smith said.
The truck is owned by a trucking company in Armuchee, Ga.
A second truck from the company was traveling behind the truck, but the driver was not close enough to see what happened or verify the first trucker’s statement, the trooper said.
“They had tried to go off the road to avoid (the van),” Smith said.
The driver of the maroon 1997 Plymouth Voyager van had “nowhere to go” as the truck blocked both lanes at impact, Smith said. The elderly man was not wearing a seatbelt, he said.
After impact, the large truck spun counter-clockwise, coming to rest diagonally along the two-lane road, more than 75 feet from the point of impact.
The speed limit posted near the curve is 35 miles per hour.
The road, between Battlefield Parkway and Salem Road, was closed for several hours as the Georgia State Patrol investigated the accident.
The GSP Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team will return to the accident scene on Friday to take further measurements with laser equipment, trooper Andy Gideon said.