Originally created 03/16/05

Aiken man is killed in wreck

An Aiken man died Tuesday afternoon after his 18-wheel logging truck rear-ended a welding supply truck on Doug Barnard Parkway, about three miles from Augusta Regional Airport.

Louie Perry, 44, was pinned inside the log truck and died of blunt force trauma, Richmond County Chief Deputy Coroner Mark Bowen said.

According to officials, at about 3:15 p.m., Mr. Perry's tractor-trailer was traveling south with a full load of logs as it approached a railroad crossing on Doug Barnard Parkway.

Mr. Perry failed to realize that the welding truck owned by Norcross-based Holox had stopped at the crossing. By the time he braked, it was too late and the logging truck slammed into the smaller truck, Richmond County sheriff's Lt. Jimmy Wylds said.

"He hit the back of the Holox truck, which was loaded with liquid oxygen," Lt. Wylds said.

Several metal cylinders on the Holox truck bed rolled off. At least one cylinder leaked liquid hydrogen, Lt. Wylds said.

Holox is a welding supply company that distributes industrial, medical and scientific gas-es, including acetylene, a chemical that is used to cut and weld metals.

Until about 11 p.m., authorities re-routed traffic around the 2300 block of Doug Barnard Parkway as a precautionary measure for drivers and employees working at businesses near the accident scene.

The parkway was expected to be reopened by today, authorities said.

Lt. Wylds stressed that public safety was not threatened by the accident.

The driver of the welding truck was identified as Harry Threatt, of Macon, said Wayne Taylor, the special operations chief at the Augusta- Richmond County Fire Department.

Mr. Threatt's injuries were minimal, and he was seen walking around the accident scene at one point, Chief Taylor said.

Mr. Threatt was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital to be checked.

Mr. Perry had worked for Stallings Logging Co. of Jackson, S.C., for only three weeks, Mr. Bowen said.

Firefighters were forced to use emergency equipment to pull Mr. Perry from the wreckage, Mr. Bowen said.

Richmond County Emergency Management Agency Director Howard Willis and the Richmond County Hazardous Materials Team inspected the accident site.

A 1,500-foot barrier was established on both sides of the accident and traffic was detoured onto 4-H Club Road.

Norfolk Southern Railroad, which had a maintenance yard nearby, moved several rail tankers that were near the accident site as a precaution, since many contained chlorine.

Reach Timothy Cox at (706) 823-3217 or tim.cox@augustachronicle.com.


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