Concrete truck rolls onto SUV

By Ed Brock

The driver of an SUV that was crushed by a concrete mixer near Jonesboro escaped the accident with "bumps and bruises."

Kimberly Diggers, 37, of Stockbridge, was stopped at the intersection of Ga. Highway 138, Stockbridge Road and Walt Stephens Road around 9:50 a.m. Wednesday when the accident occurred, Clayton County police Capt. Jeff Turner said. The driver of the truck, 44-year-old Thomas Robinson, apparently lost control while turning right from southbound Highway 138 to westbound Highway 138.

The truck flipped over and slid into Diggers' vehicle that was in the eastbound lanes of Highway 138 facing in the direction of Walt Stephens Road.

"Charges are pending against (Robinson) following an inspection of the vehicle," Turner said.

As onlookers gathered around the intersection, firefighters with the Clayton County Fire Department Extrication Team and Tara Wreckers were able to pull Robinson from the truck fairly easily, Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Hood said.

"We had a pretty challenging extrication on (Diggers) due to the truck being on top of her," Hood said, crediting cooperation among the agencies for Diggers' eventual extraction from her vehicle.

Diggers was taken by air ambulance to Atlanta Medical Center but Turner said she apparently only suffered "bumps and bruises." Robinson also suffered only minor injuries, Hood said.

Cheryl Wilder, director of the Clayton County Computer Center where Diggers worked, went to the hospital after hearing about the accident, said the center's Manager of Technical Services Debbie Plauman.

"We're a pretty close-knit bunch. We were pretty distraught," Plauman said.

Plauman said she was told that Diggers was going to stay at the hospital overnight and was expected to be released today, but Plauman does not know when Diggers will return to work.

Robinson has worked for Lafarge Building Materials, Inc., the owners of the truck, for about nine years said Lafarge Vice President John Richardson. When the accident occurred Robinson was on his way from the company's facilities in Stockbridge, Richardson said, to a Georgia Department of Transportation project with an "8-yard load," meaning the truck was about three quarters full.

Richardson said he didn't know how much the truck weighed. He added that the company's trucks undergo a weekly maintenance inspection and Robinson's truck had been inspected earlier this week.

Lafarge has district offices in Alpharetta.

Employees of an Eckerd drug store nearby were some of the first witnesses to the accident.

"I heard the big boom sound," said clerk Amanda Campbell. "I glanced outside and called 911."

Ann McGow works in the store's photograph development center and ran outside after the accident "to see if they were a regular customer and if I could call anybody for them."

Diggers was coherent shortly after the accident, McGow said, but most of her body was under the truck.

The accident came as no surprise to Brian Lott, one of the spectators who stopped to watch the rescue and cleanup efforts. Lott said he drives tanker trucks and he has often found it difficult to negotiate the turn Robinson was making.

"This is really a bad design of the road," said Lott, referring to the tilt of the turn lane toward the center of the intersection.

The tilt causes truck loads to shift quickly, Lott said, and vehicles approaching the turn must travel down a fairly steep hill.

"I bet you can find a dozen tanker truck drivers who'd complain about the same thing," Lott said.