Across Georgia

Tanker explodes after collision, killing driver


SAVANNAH, GA. --- A fuel tanker exploded after colliding with another truck on Interstate 95 early Thursday, killing the tanker's driver and forcing police to shut down the highway in both directions for three hours as the fire burned hot enough to melt asphalt.

The fuel tanker was traveling southbound at about 3:40 a.m. when it crashed into the back of a tractor-trailer hauling cars, said Lt. Paul Cosper, a spokesman for the Georgia State Patrol.

It happened near Richmond Hill, about 18 miles south of Savannah.

"The fuel truck rear-ended a car carrier and then it exploded," Cosper said. "The fire was so hot that some of the pavement melted."

The driver of the fuel tanker died in the crash. The State Patrol identified him as 29-year-old David McGraft and said he lived in the Savannah area.

No one else was seriously injured in the crash, Cosper said.

Officials want to name road for slain officer

ATHENS, GA. --- Local government officials want to rename a Clarke County road in honor of the Athens-Clarke County police officer who was gunned down in the line of duty.

The Athens Banner-Herald reports that Commissioner Doug Lowry this week proposed renaming Beaverdam Extension to Buddy Christian Way.

Elmer "Buddy" Christian was killed last month and another officer was wounded in an Athens shootout.

Officials say the Northeast Georgia Police Academy is on the road which could be renamed.

Athens-Clarke County Mayor Nancy Denson and other commissioners said they support naming the road for Christian. The proposal now goes to the Athens-Clarke Planning Commission, which is the typical procedure for renaming a road.