$50000 bond set for trucker charged in deadly I-16 pileup

Bond was set Wednesday for an Atlanta-area truck driver who faces vehicular homicide charges after a fiery pileup[1] killed three people and injured 12 others Tuesday on Interstate 16. Gerard Lawrence Thompson Sr., 49, of Palmetto in Fulton County, was booked into the Bibb County Law Enforcement Center shortly after the 5:30 p.m. crash at Ocmulgee East Boulevard, authorities said. The deadly chain-reaction wreck happened as vehicles were slowing near a work site off the westbound lanes of the highway.

At a first-appearance hearing in a Bibb County jailhouse courtroom, a judge set Thompson’s bond at £50,000.

The amount includes £15,000 for each of three vehicular homicide charges and £5,000 for an aggressive driving charge. Thompson’s tractor-trailer, which was hauling Ozark coolers, ice chests, slammed into a pickup and a Chevy Cobalt. Both vehicles burst into flames, killing the drivers.

Sheriff’s officials weren’t yet sure where Thompson was headed or where he was traveling from. His truck’s log books burned in the crash. Four people hurt in the wreck were in stable condition in a Macon hospital on Wednesday, while three others were in intensive care.

One victim, meanwhile, a church deacon from Dublin, was in critical condition at an Augusta burn center.

Four people involved were treated and released. The cab of Thompson’s rig burned, but Thompson was not seriously hurt. In court Wednesday, there was a bandage on his head.

A total of eight vehicles were involved, including a van from Greater New Friendship Baptist Church in Dublin where 81-year-old Marjorie Jones was riding.

She went into cardiac arrest after suffering trauma in the accident, Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones said. Marjorie Jones died at Medical Center, Navicent Health. Bibb Deputy Coroner Lonnie Miley said early Wednesday that a body inside the Cobalt was identified as 84-year-old Robert Day of Vidalia, who was traveling with the church members, but in a separate vehicle.

The body in the pickup, which was burned beyond recognition, has yet to be positively identified, Leon Jones said.

All three victims will undergo autopsies at the GBI Crime Lab, Coroner Jones said.

In addition to three counts of vehicular homicide, Thompson has been charged with a count of reckless driving.

Others were hurt in the crash, but no further information was immediately available.

I-16 was closed for several hours after the crash.

Come back to macon.com for updates and read Thursday’s Telegraph.

References

  1. ^ fiery pileup (www.macon.com)

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