February 7, 2008
Turner County- A dramatic chase on Interstate-75 in Turner County ends in a fiery crash. The whole thing was caught on dashboard video. Turner County deputies were alerted to a tractor trailer rig swerving in the northbound lanes of I-75 just before 1:00 a.m.
As a Turner County deputy falls in behind him, you can see the truck swearing from side to side. You can see the truck ahead, the shinny silver box, with the lights on top. This is near Exit 80. The driver weaves from the fast lane to the slow lane inside the construction zone on Northbound I-75. The Turner County deputy stays far enough back so the trucker can see his lights. The chase lasted about two miles with lights and sirens running on the cruiser. You can see the truck head into the median, then the driver starts driving north in the south bound lanes. He misses one car. Minutes later, a second tractor trailer appears and Harrison goes around him in the slow lane. Still driving north in the southbound lane, he suddenly heads back into the median. He hits the median, the fuel tank makes the first explosion as it hits the ground, then a bigger flame cloud erupts and engulfs the truck as the trailer catches fire. What you can't see is another vehicle coming southbound. They see the truck crashed into the median, but can't stop. They crashed into the truck as the Turner County Sheriff's deputy runs to help them. Police Chief Bryant McCard says there wasn't enough time to get in front of the truck and throw out stop sticks to blow his tires.
"At the time that this all occurred, officers were responding from the city to the interstate and before they could get to the interstate the incident had occurred," said Ashburn Police Chief Bryant McCard.
The truck driver, 63 year old Robert Harrison of Moore, South Carolina was killed. The driver of the SUV 44 year old Arellano Efrain of Athens was not injured. His passenger, 38 year old Dalia Smith of Athens was injured, but she was treated at Tift Regional Hospital and released by late morning.
Police are waiting on toxicology results to learn more about what may have caused Harrison's reckless driving. Police found no signs of alcohol or any type of drugs at the scene and say neither were a factor.