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196 wreck slows traffic; minor injuries
Investigators and emergency personnel work around the wreck scene to care for the injured and figure out what happened. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon

Leroy Coffer crash

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A wreck involving a semi-tractor trailer and a landscaping company’s truck closed an artery between Hinesville and Richmond Hill for about two hours at the height of rush hour Friday afternoon. Only minor injuries were reported.
Highway 196 was closed to traffic as emergency personnel from Liberty Regional EMS, Liberty County Sheriff's Department, Fleming Volunteer Fire Department and the Georgia State Patrol's Office attended to the injured, investigated the scene and cleaned up the accident debris.
GSP Trooper William Bowman said he was dispatched to the accident about two miles down 196 from Highway 84 around 4:15 p.m. There is construction going on in the area, but investigators did not believe it contributed to the wreck.
Bowman said emergency personnel from the fire department, Liberty EMS and LCSO were already tending to the injured parties when he arrived.
According to Bowman, Charles Gillispie was driving a semi-tractor trailer when he stopped behind baked up traffic.
An Isuzu truck, belonging to Sodman Landscaping out of Savannah, was traveling behind the semi. Sodman employee Logan Auton was driving the Izusu and saw the traffic stopped in front of him and tried to stop, but couldn’t so tried to pull to the right shoulder. Bowman said it appeared the rate of speed and the weight of the vehicle and a trailer carrying a Bobcat caused the Isuzu to continue forward, striking the rear corner of the semi.
The impact ripped open the truck's cab. The trailer disengaged from the truck and landed on its side on the right shoulder several feet away.
In addition to Auton, the truck had four passengers, all Sodman employees.
Rosa Sanchez had several broken bones and a deep laceration in her right leg. Although alert and responsive she said she could not feel her left arm, which was bandaged by paramedics. As a precaution, Life-Star was called in and Sanchez was flown to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah.
Auton’s arms and legs were injured and he was taken by ambulance to Memorial.
Passengers Rafael Hernandez, Aron DeLaCruz and Miguel Guzman were able to walk away but were taken along with Auton for medical evaluation.
Bowman said it was fortunate there were no fatalities as the impact and damage to the truck was extensive.
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