Interstate 16 in Laurens County was shut down to motorists after over a dozen vehicles were involved in an early morning accident.
A spokesperson for the Georgia State Patrol Post in Dublin tells WGXA, troopers responded to the multi-car accident between mile marker 34 and mile marker 37. The GSP spokesperson says a tanker truck involved in the accident exploded during the crash.
Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones told WGXA shortly after the accident that three people were confirmed dead in the accident. WGXA has learned late Wednesday afternoon that the death toll has increased to four.
The dead were identified as: Michael Jarome Smith of Covington; Jeff Moore of Effingham County; and Clayton and Josephine Warnock of Dublin.
The Georgia State Patrol says nine people were hurt.
Laurens County EMS Director Terry Cobb tells WGXA at least six vehicles were still on fire when crews arrived. The state patrol says there were four separate crashes involving 27 vehicles.
DOT spokeswoman Jill Goldberg tells WGXA a call from a 911 operator Wednesday morning saying motorists were complaining about driving conditions prompted the agency to dispatch a crew with caution signs from Dublin, about 10 miles from the crash scene.
Goldberg says less than 30 minutes elapsed between the operator's call and the pileup. She says the crew had signs loaded into a truck and was en route when the DOT learned of the crash.
Law enforcement officers were detouring traffic off Ga. Highway 112 to Ga. Highway 26.
Officials said poor visibility likely played a big part. According to Chief Meteorologist Jeff Cox, at the time of the accident, visibility reports in nearby Dublin were 0.15 mile, or just under 800 feet.
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