DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. - A driver is dead after a tree crashed onto his pickup truck along a local interstate in Douglas County. The freak accident shut down lanes for hours.
Channel 2's Tom Regan confirmed that the Georgia Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining trees along the interstates. GDOT officials said the tree that fell was not dead or dying.
It's unknown what caused the tree to fall, killing the driver.
"I think it's awful, so sad," commuter Tina Eakin said.
Drivers in and around Interstate 20 expressed emotions Wednesday over the sudden death of the driver involved in the accident.
The man was behind the wheel of his red truck heading west near Fairburn Road.
"It struck the truck in the left-hand lane. When the tree struck, he just lost control and ended up in the median," witness Peyton Osborne said.
"That's like a one in a lifetime chance. It's bad that happened," commuter Totie Farm said.
The accident tied up traffic for hours in both directions along I-20. Although the tree was removed from the road, investigators, including a crew from GDOT, surveyed the accident scene.
GDOT works year round to remove tree limbs near the highway that could pose a danger.
"Do you ever think about that when you head down the highway that a tree might all of a sudden fall?" Regan asked commuter Kenny Smith. "Oh I think about it all the time," Smith answered.
Spontaneous falling trees kill hundreds each year and can lead to lawsuits.
Four years ago, the State of Washington paid a $10 million settlement to survivors of a highway tree crash that killed a couple.
Witnesses to Wednesday's accident in Douglas County said their hearts go out to the driver's family.
"It's a very, very sad situation," Shelly Krouch said.
There were no high winds reported in the area when the tree fell. Police have not yet identified the driver.
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