I-85 wrong-way crash photographer describes heroic rescue efforts

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ATLANTA - A man who photographed a deadly wrong-way crash on Interstate 85 said he is still reeling from witnessing the aftermath of the crash and the heroic efforts of strangers to pull people from the wreckage.

Photographer Jerry Quarles told Channel 2’s Eric Philips he came upon the accident on I-85 near Old National Highway just moments after the collision. He said he grabbed his camera and began taking dozens of pictures.

“Most people would see that burning vehicle and be worried about an explosion or something like that. These men selflessly stood there in the face of all that and said, ‘We’re going to get these guys out.’ What I felt like I could do, record what was happening so other people see humanity at work,” Quarles said.

Witnesses said the wrong-way driver in a silver pickup truck sped south on I-85 north, ending in the fiery crash.

Calls flooded into Fulton County 911.

“This truck was hauling down, going south on the northbound lane and he dodged a couple people then he came headlong into some kind of commercial truck,” a 911 caller said.

Good Samaritans worked to get two men out of the truck that had been hit before it burst into flames.

“The true heroes in this event are those men that were there risking their lives,” Quarles said.

Quarles said he hopes he gets the opportunity to meet some of the people who helped so he can give them copies of the photos.

Investigators at the Fulton County Police Department said they are still trying to figure out how the driver of a pickup truck went the wrong way on I-85 Wednesday afternoon.

The driver of the truck traveling the wrong way and the passenger in the truck he collided with both died. The driver of the second truck was hospitalized with serious injuries.