Wrecks litter I-20 westbound near Grovetown

Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011 5:55 PM
Last updated 11:53 PM
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Heavy rain led to a series of accidents involving more than 50 vehicles on westbound Interstate 20 on Thursday, authorities said.

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More than 30 vehicle accidents occurred on Interstate 20 westbound between 5 and 9:30 p.m. Thursday.  Once the first accident happened, others followed, including more than 50 cars and two tractor-trailers. At least 15 people were taken to area hospitals.  Jim Blaylock/Staff
Jim Blaylock/Staff
More than 30 vehicle accidents occurred on Interstate 20 westbound between 5 and 9:30 p.m. Thursday. Once the first accident happened, others followed, including more than 50 cars and two tractor-trailers. At least 15 people were taken to area hospitals.
Jenna Martin
Business Reporter
Twitter: @JennaNMartin
E-mail | 706-823-3217

At least 31 wrecks occurred between 5 and 9:30 p.m., according to Georgia State Patrol Trooper 1st Class Matt MacDonald.

As of 10 p.m., I-20 westbound was still down to one lane, and traffic was backed up about three miles from mile marker 191 to the Bel Air Road exit, MacDonald said.

Once the first accident happened, others followed, including numerous cars and two tractor-trailers.

During the chain reaction of accidents, a white Isuzu wrecked. A man in that vehicle was airlifted to Medical College of Georgia hospital, and his condition was not known Thursday night. Two others were in the vehicle, according to MacDonald.

One other person was critically injured Thursday night and was in MCG’s Trauma Unit as of 11 p.m.

At least 15, and as many as 20, people were taken to area hospitals with injuries not believed to be life-threatening.

Staff Writer Meg Mirshak contributed to this report.

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trimmy
29
Points
trimmy 09/15/11 - 08:23 pm
0
0
Weather does not affect the
Unpublished

Weather does not affect the way fools drive.

csrareader
1288
Points
csrareader 09/15/11 - 08:23 pm
0
0
Idiot drivers in Augusta

Idiot drivers in Augusta area. Driving 101 = slow down when it rains!

doglover123
36
Points
doglover123 09/15/11 - 08:47 pm
0
0
The law is to slow down to 5

The law is to slow down to 5 mph UNDER the speed limit. And, People, please turn on your headlights when it's raining. (AND foggy, for that matter.) It's not just to see, but to be SEEN!! It's kind of hard to see light colored cars coming in pouring rain or fog when the lights aren't on.

curly123053
6616
Points
curly123053 09/15/11 - 09:37 pm
0
0
Since working EMS it irks me

Since working EMS it irks me when they say the RAIN caused the accident. What causes these accidents are the drivers who REFUSE to drive according to the conditions at the time. In some circumstances the posted speed limits is not safe and you need to "slow down", but that is a dirty word during rush hour, especially on the "I".

DRRush
1
Points
DRRush 09/15/11 - 09:45 pm
0
0
There is no such law about

There is no such law about driving 5 mph under the speed limit during bad weather. The maximum speed limit is only justifed when driving conditions are good. There is a law "driving too fast for conditions" that applies in situations like these. You could be cited for driving too fast for conditions if you were only driving 50 MPH on I-20 if
it was during extremely bad weather. I do agree, however, about turning your headlights on during rain or fog. Also, people, please use your turn signals!!!!!! Driving is a "life and death" situation.

dizzy dictator
109
Points
dizzy dictator 09/15/11 - 10:58 pm
0
0
This is so going to change

This is so going to change our driving stats now. Push us to #2 for sure. I hate to travel on I 20 any how because of the way people drive on this road and how people are fearless when driving in the rain. I truly hope everyone is okay from this nightmare.

countyman
22770
Points
countyman 09/15/11 - 11:09 pm
0
0
I-20 west was backed up all

I-20 west was backed up all the way between Thomson and Wheeler rd.. Given the daily traffic of I-20, I wouldn't automatically assume their from the Augusta area..

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 09/15/11 - 11:06 pm
0
0
Not enough details to

Not enough details to intelligently speculate; but it would not surprise me if it wasn't caused by stalled traffic exiting off I-20 onto Belair. I just had a similar scenario at the next exit up. I managed to get stopped exiting at rush hour, but the second car behind me had to hit the grass. We were backing up into the I-20 right lane.

nothin2show4it
120
Points
nothin2show4it 09/16/11 - 05:20 am
0
0
So here we go, already
Unpublished

So here we go, already shifting blame to someone else. Even if it started with people outside of our area I bet 99% of the people were from here. I know this is hard for some of you to accept but when the conditions are bad, and rain is one of those conditions, slow down or avoid driving altogether. I was in the check out line in a store when the rain hit. I was ready to go home but I went through the store a couple of more times until the rain stopped. I didn't do it because I didn't want to get wet, I did it because conditions were not good to drive in and I could wait. Everyone is in too big of a hurry these days.

augusta citizen
10700
Points
augusta citizen 09/16/11 - 06:14 am
0
0
My prayers are with the

My prayers are with the injured, it's a miracle that more people weren't hurt.

GatorWhiteboy
0
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GatorWhiteboy 09/16/11 - 06:53 am
0
0
CSRAREADER = Evidently not an

CSRAREADER = Evidently not an I20 driver. If you were you would know that 95% of the "Idiot drivers in Augusta area" (as you put it) are not the ones doing above the posted 65. It's all the Idiots from the counties surrounding Atlanta, Alabama & Tennessee. I drive that stretch of 20 quite regularly and those are the plates that go flying past me.

REDRIDER
134
Points
REDRIDER 09/16/11 - 07:35 am
0
0
As a rider not a driver. In

As a rider not a driver. In other words I ride a motorcycle rain or shine. It has not rained in so long, oil builds up on roads the longer it does not rain.
When it first starts to rain the sheen of oil rises and the slicker the roads gets. Driving in the first few moments of a down pour at any speed and trying to swerve in and out of traffic. Contributes to these wrecks.

belle
323
Points
belle 09/16/11 - 07:40 am
0
0
I know the rain has been
Unpublished

I know the rain has been extremely spotty this year but I was no more than one mile from this stretch of I-20 and it only rained "decent" for about 10 minutes. I would be willing to bet that these accidents occurred not during the rain but immediately after. If you pay attention you will note that is when most accidents happen in Augusta. So, note to all, the roads are still wet AFTER the rain for up to an hour depending on the area and amount of rain.

david jennings
625
Points
david jennings 09/16/11 - 07:41 am
0
0
I guess speeding is just a

I guess speeding is just a human condition.I try to drive at least the posted limit and maybe 5mph over and use the right lane,but on any road Im in someones way.If they cant pass the car behind is on my bumper.I dont know what the hurry is.I do know I havent had a ticket since 1994.

stillamazed
1489
Points
stillamazed 09/16/11 - 07:48 am
0
0
Gator, I agree, I travel I20

Gator, I agree, I travel I20 alot also and most of the speeders I see are not local tags, granted there are always some but the majority are cars traveling through this area. Truth is wrecks can happen even when you aren't speeding, not all wrecks are speed related. My daughter was coming off the ramp to get on the interstate when it was raining, not speeding at all but when she got near the bottom her car hydroplaned and she did a 360 turn, thank God there was not another car close by.

elizaw
8
Points
elizaw 09/16/11 - 08:32 am
0
0
Dont forget when its foggy,

Dont forget when its foggy, please turn on lights but NOT bright lights.

Casting_Fool
1205
Points
Casting_Fool 09/16/11 - 08:39 am
0
0
Here's another angle on

Here's another angle on traffic laws.

Christians are required by Romans 13:1-7 to obey the law. There are only a few times when disobeying is allowed (ie. like a law that would prohibt meeting together to worship.)

The speed limit is a law, along with all of the other laws that govern how we are supposed to behave when driving. Christians are required to obey the law, so ergo, they're supposed to obey traffic laws.

If a Christian speeds or tailgates, they're disobeying God's command to obey the law.

Bet you won't hear that one from the pulpit. Pastors don't want to upset those "dues paying" church members.

But imagine this. I believe that roughly 70% of Americans claim some sort of relationship with the God of the Bible. If 70% of the population of the United States suddenly started obeying the traffic laws, there would be a drastic reduction in the number of traffic accidents, insurance rates would drop, thousands of people would not be injured or killed in traffic accidents, and there would be fewer risks and a lower work load for law enforcement and rescue personnel.

It could even effect the environment and economy. With people driving slower, alternate methods of fueling vehicles would seem more reasonable, promoting the greater use of electric vehicles.

Funny, how obeying God tends to improve the quality of one's life.

fftaz71
108
Points
fftaz71 09/16/11 - 09:56 am
0
0
Stillamazed...if your

Stillamazed...if your daughter hydroplaned, she was driving too fast for conditions whether she was speeding or not.
Ive noticed since Ive lived here that many people drive around with bald tires or donuts on their car for months in the south. Saw it in Florida too. When it rains, people driving on bald tires might as well be driving on ice. The time to replace your tires is not when it stops holding air but rather when the top of lincolns head can be seen if you hold a penny (head down) on its side in the threads.
I do believe it is a law in Georgia (as in most other states) to turn your headlights on while the windshield wipers are in use. (Georgia law (Georgia Statute 20-129) is a bit different in that is says that lighted headlamps and rear lamps must be used during the period from sunset to sunrise, when there is not sufficient light to render clearly discernible any person on the highway at a distance of 400 feet ahead, or at any other time when windshield wipers are in use as a result of smoke, fog, rain, sleet, or snow, or when inclement weather or environmental factors severely reduce the ability to clearly discern persons and vehicles on the street and highway at a distance of 500 feet ahead.)

JohnBoy1953
0
Points
JohnBoy1953 09/16/11 - 10:34 am
0
0
Not too many folks take the

Not too many folks take the signs literally. It's a speed LIMIT. Not required to travel at the posted speed at all times. Also realize that when it hasn't rained in awhile, the surface will be extra slick when it does start to rain due to oils and pollution on the concrete. Slow down and leave extra room between you and the vehicle ahead!

allhans
25529
Points
allhans 09/16/11 - 10:50 am
0
0
Haven't you had drivers pass

Haven't you had drivers pass you in or after a rain and create a splash that completely blinds you for a few seconds.
No consideration for others at all, and the offender goes on his way.

Willow Bailey
20606
Points
Willow Bailey 09/16/11 - 10:55 am
0
0
There is a charge called

There is a charge called "driving too fast for conditions".

TrulyWorried
20028
Points
TrulyWorried 09/16/11 - 01:31 pm
0
0
Why have they come out with

Why have they come out with these odd colored (bluish) headlights? During daylight hours they hurt ones eyes - of course I try to avoid looking at them. But, what is the purpose of these - I feel like they serve nothing - aggravation in deed.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 09/16/11 - 04:18 pm
0
0
My friend owns Gold Cross and
Unpublished

My friend owns Gold Cross and Air Med. He told me they responded with 6 ambulances and 1 helicopter. I hope all are ok.

Casting_Fool
1205
Points
Casting_Fool 09/16/11 - 07:57 pm
0
0
It's my understanding that

It's my understanding that they've outlawed the blue tint headlights. Those lights are intentionally brighter than normal headlights, but like you said, they are too bright for oncoming drivers. You can buy them on the Internet, but I'm pretty sure that you can't buy them retail.

They're intended to make it easier for the driver to see where he/she is going, but they're rather blinding if you are going in the opposite direction.

Now if we could only convince driver's to not use them.

Casting_Fool
1205
Points
Casting_Fool 09/17/11 - 01:02 am
0
0
There's also the problem of

There's also the problem of people misinterpreting that "slower cars in the right lane" law.

The law states something to the effect that if you are moving at less than the posted speed limit, you should stay in the right-hand lane to allow other drivers to pass you. That way you won't be obstructing traffic.

What the law does not say is that you should stay in the right-hand lane, if you are traveling at the posted speed limit. No one is supposed to be driving faster than the posted speed limit (yes, I know that most folks do.)

If you are traveling at the posted speed limit, you do not have to be in the right-hand lane in order to let faster drivers pass you. I've seen people completely lose it because they're behind someone driving the speed limit in the left lane.

I doubt that those drivers have actually read the law and understand it.

Seriously, how many times have you been passed by a speeding driver only to pull up behind them at the next red traffic light? Risking your life, risking damage to your vehicle, risking the lives of the other drivers around you, just to save a few minutes to get where you're going?

Not worth it in my book. Besides, I'm a Christian. I'm obligated to obey the traffic laws.

proudgunowner
148
Points
proudgunowner 09/17/11 - 12:09 am
0
0
Casting Fool, although you
Unpublished

Casting Fool, although you are correct about man obeying God's laws which tell us to obey the laws our gub'ment sets forth, being a Christian we should also be COURTEOUS. Driving right next to another vehicle on a multi lane road, thereby blocking another from being able to pass, is uncourteous along with being dangerous.

medic1753
0
Points
medic1753 09/17/11 - 08:31 am
0
0
At the accident where the

At the accident where the picture was taken there were 12 cars and 3 eighteen wheelers involved, only one vehicle had an out of state plate on the car the rest were from Georgia, I did not look at counties on the plates however I know that two of the drivers were going home from work as I overheard conversations from them as I was passing. This accident happened on a downhill grade just over a hill crest. Traffic in all lanes was proceeding at below the speed limit however the ripple effect from the accident at the 190 exit combined with drivers not looking ahead magnified by the wet roadways contributed to the accident.

As for the law regarding left lane travel Georgia law states "no person shall continue to operate a motor vehicle in the most left-hand lane at less than the maximum lawful speed limit once such person knows or should reasonably know that he is being overtaken in such lane from the rear by a motor vehicle traveling at a higher rate of speed, except when such motor vehicle is preparing for a left turn." This allows for driving in the left lane at all times unless a car is gaining on you, I personally do not like the wording of that, I prefer the wording in most other states which is to keep right except to pass.

As a former Emergency Vehicle Operators Course instructor I pay more attention to traffic around me than most, I saw brake lights on vehicles several cars ahead of me and started braking, when the vehicle ahead of me panic braked (indicated by the nosedive if their vehicle) I checked traffic behind me and went into the breakdown lane on the shoulder as I continued braking, I never went past the bumper of the vehicle in front of me but the vehicle behind me did come up beside me. I watched another wreck happen behind me as a vehicle locked up their brakes and spun the vehicle hitting the vehicle in front of it backwards.

This series of accidents happened during rush hour when all lanes were essentially bumper to bumper. I was actually surprised that there not more accidents as this happened in rush hour right at the tail end of a passing storm.

Discussionstarter
539
Points
Discussionstarter 09/18/11 - 11:36 am
0
0
The speeding on I20 is out of

The speeding on I20 is out of control... and I am sure it was a primary cause of this pile-up. If you do not believe me.... get on I-20 west-bound from the SC side... and watch how fast drivers enter Georgia and NEVER slow down. We could make a ton of money using radar. Georgia State Patrol? You could pull over 100s per day. The Georgia Welcome Center has plenty of parking spaces... for the GSP to write tickets. Sheriff Strength would no longer have a budget issue.

Pandemonium
0
Points
Pandemonium 02/04/12 - 09:11 am
0
0
Man, all of these comments

Man, all of these comments are wrong.

I drive from Augusta to Thomson, and back, every single day; for the last 4 years. 95% of the plates I see are Georgia, 4% are South Carolina, and 1% is out of state (not including semi-trailers - because, that's just a dumb assessment).

The initial accident caused the others to happen because of RUBBERNECKING. People here LOVE to slow down, gawk, and subsequently NOT pay attention to their driving. I've seen it with every single accident that's happened here.

You guys know that going too slow is also dangerous, correct? If you're going under 60mph, you should be using your hazard lights to warn inbound rear traffic of your slow speed (a good driver doesn't need this, but it helps those that can't properly gauge how fast someone is going - which is EXTREMELY common here).

In 2008 the NHTSA did a study of over 6950 accidents, sending an investigator to determine the primary causes of each (http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811059.PDF). Of those 6950, 5096 were noted for critical pre-crash events (meaning, avoidable). EIGHT percent were directly a result of speeding in poor driving conditions (Table 9a). Only EIGHT. 13% percent for all too fast scenarios. The remaining 87% were due to driver error or lack of driver ability and control.

Stop blaming speeding.

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