HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — Security camera video that captured the moments a fiery chain-reaction tractor-trailer crash killed four people last month will play a crucial role in telling the public what happened that day along Interstate 75 in Henry County.
A family member of one of those victims spoke about the deadly wreck for the first time Tuesday.
Graciela Sanchez told Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne that members of her family have seen the video of the crash.
Sanchez said two of her cousins, Fermin Martinez Cervantes and Jaime Sanchez-Ibarra, were killed in the wreck along with her godfather, Jose Ibarra, and his girlfriend, Juana Ortiz-Martinez.
“They were very humble people, very hardworking. They were always happy,” Sanchez said. “They were on their way to work.
Now, a lawsuit is being filed on behalf of the family.
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Winne asked Sanchez what it was like for the family to see the video of the deadly wreck.
“Devastating. Shocking. Couldn’t believe it,” Sanchez said. “We need justice, you know?”
She told Winne that the impact of the crash will be felt by her family forever.
“Where have you found the strength to deal with this?” Winne asked Sanchez.
“We turned to God. And among each other,” Sanchez said.
Attorney Terry Jackson has filed suit against a group of trucking industry businesses, insurance companies and individuals on behalf of Fermin Martinez Cervantes and Jaime Sanchez-Ibarra.
“You can see our clients come slow and then you can see the tractor-trailer comes, there’s no braking, violent collision,” Jackson told Winne. “The truck driver, to his credit, I think he burned his hands trying to get the folks out.”
Jackson said he's suing four drivers involved – the drivers of the two tractor-trailers involved and the drivers of two vehicles who had stopped on the interstate to avoid a tire tread.
He said the wreck caused a backup more than 12 miles long after a tractor trailer driven by Mohabe McCoy plowed into a pickup truck pulling a load of pine straw.
Jackson said he tracked down another trucker who witnessed the moments before impact.
“She looked into the tractor and saw that he had his head down and wasn’t paying attention,” Jackson said.
The attorney said at least some of the four people in the pickup truck survived the crash but died in the resulting fire.
Jackson said based on all the evidence he's seen so far, he believes McCoy fell asleep.
Winne attempted to contact McCoy and a number of the defendants for comment on this story.
He spoke with one of the drivers who documents indicate was involved in the first crash.
"I didn’t do anything wrong," she said. "I wasn’t at fault for the accident."