Overturned truck slows traffic several hours on 441

GSP Cpl. Cory Seymour and GDPS Officer Matt Kelley look at where the overturned Freightliner tractor struck a tree and utility pole Friday afternoon. 

A tractor trailer rig loaded with 4-foot by 8-foot sheets of plywood that overturned, crossed all lanes of traffic and struck a Jeep before hitting a utility pole and tree and going over an embankment, losing its load in the process caused traffic to be slowed and limited to one lane on the Eatonton Bypass Friday, April 6. Two were slightly injured in the crash, according to law enforcement officials.

Around 3:45 p.m., a 2012 Freightliner tractor, owned by CRST Malone Trucking, was pulling a flatbed trailer loaded with plywood while traveling south on State Route 24/U.S. 441 Bypass in the left lane, according to Georgia State Patrol Cpl. Cory Seymour. The driver, Kenneth Blue, 55, of Kingston, said he head a "loud pop" underneath the front of the truck and lost control of the steering. Blue said he tried to steer the truck, but it pulled to the left, crossing the concrete median at Imperial Mill Road and traveled into the northbound lanes of the Bypass. 

A 2012 Jeep Wrangler, driven by Marisa Yarborough, 40, of Eatonton, was crossing the Bypass from Imperial Mill Road when he truck struck the front passenger side of her Jeep, causing it to spin around in the road. 

After the impact, the tractor trailer went off the shoulder of the northbound lanes of the bypass, struck an embankment, overturned and crashed into a utility pole and a large tree. The plywood cargo on the trailer broke loose during the overturn and scattered along the roadside. 

Yarborough and a passenger in the Jeep were taken by ambulance to Putnam General Hospital with what appeared to be minor injuries, said law enforcement officers who responded to the wreck. Blue crawled out of his overturned truck cab and refused immediate treatment, saying he would go to the hospital to be checked after he ensured his truck was taken care of. He stood on the side of the road for the next couple of hours watching as Taylor's Wrecker Service and Holder's Wrecker Service teams cleared the plywood with a forklift, and turned the trailer and tractor rightside up and Taylor Wrecker Service hauled it away. 

An in-depth post-crash inspection will be conducted on the truck to determine if the truck suffered a mechanical failure which contributed to the crash, according to Cpl. Seymour and Officer Matt Kelly with the Georgia Dept. of Public Safety, Motor Carrier Compliance division. See the April 12 edition of The Eatonton Messenger for more on this story, which includes a talk with the truck driver. 

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