I-75 in Cobb County reopens after deadly chain-reaction crash

One person is dead after a fiery chain-reaction crash involving up to as many as 20 vehicles shut down northbound Interstate 75 in Cobb County late Thursday morning. All northbound lanes, including the I-75 Express lanes, were closed between Barrett Parkway and Chastain Road but reopened shortly before 7 p.m.

Sgt. Wayne Delk, a spokesperson for the Cobb County Police Department, said the county's 911 center received a call around 11:09 a.m. The caller said a large crash occurred just north of the Barrett Parkway on-ramp.

First responders arrived at a chaotic scene with at least one vehicle stacked on top of another. Police said at least one tractor-trailer was involved. Firefighters worked quickly to put out the fire. There were no reports any of the vehicles were carrying anything hazardous. 

Emergency crews worked to extract at least one person from the tangled wreck of vehicles. A full account of the rescue efforts has not been compiled as crews continue to work the scene well into the evening hours.

Sgt. Delk could not immediately give information on the number of injuries other than the sole fatality. That person has not been identified and police are not releasing which vehicle that person was in until their next of kin is notified.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, but several key factors will be looked at.

"Rain, the weather may have played a part in this but obviously there are going to be other factors that may have also attributed," Delk said.

One of those other factors is speed.

"With this amount of rain and this type of weather, you don't even have to be exceeding the speed limit for speed to play a part," Delk said.

That is why the sergeant said police officers always preach about the importance of slowing down and increasing distance in inclement weather.

(Courtesy of Christopher Hill)

Many motorists were stuck behind the crash for several hours. Delk said the traffic back up past the I-575 split. He said officers were quickly able to divert most of the traffic off the interstate and then worked to clear the traffic jam. 

Sgt. Delk said anyone traveling through that portion of the county should pack their patience. Even avoiding the interstate, the other arteries such as I-575 and Cobb Parkway will be seeing an increase in traffic volume.

"Slow down, put your phone down, pay attention to the other traffic on the roadway," Delk said. "You could be doing everything correctly and still be involved in a horrific accident. So, just pay attention to your surroundings and put those distractions away."

Despite reopening around 6:45 p.m., traffic in the area is expected to remain slow-moving for the next few hours.

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