1 killed in Ronald Reagan Parkway multi-vehicle crash - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Gwinnett police: Black ice caused deadly 5-car crash


Gwinnett County police said Monday that black ice caused a deadly five-car accident on Ronald Reagan Parkway near Five Forks Trickum Road. The accident closed all lanes in both directions for several hours.

Five vehicles were involved in the incident.

Police said a pickup truck was driving alongside a car when the car suddenly slid on black ice and lost control. Both vehicles crossed the median into oncoming traffic. 

According to investigators, the pickup driver was killed when his truck slammed into an SUV. Police said his son was airlifted to a local hospital in critical condition and the driver of the SUV was also seriously hurt.

"All it takes is a light coating of ice," said Cpl. Edwin Ritter. "You travel around the curve at a high rate of speed, there's a good possibility you're going to lose control."

While police said speed was not a factor in the crash, the speed limit along the highway is 50 mph, which makes it difficult for drivers to slow down quickly when they spot black ice.

"I've lived in this area for 18 years," said Ashley Wallings. "As long as the road's been open, there have been a lot of issues when it is cold after it's been raining, like icy patches." 

There are guardrails in the median along some spots of the highway. There are no safety barriers where Monday's accident occurred.

"If they need to be there, we need to put them there," said longtime resident George Cummings. "They tend to put them there after there's a bad accident.  That's just the way it works."

CBS Atlanta News contacted Gwinnett County to find out what, if any, safety changes might be made along the highway. Late Monday, the county said it was researching that question.

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