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Mid-morning wreck snarls traffic

By Todd DeFeo

Two tractor-trailers and a minivan collided Monday morning, snarling traffic on Interstate 75 for hours and sending one person to an area hospital, police said.

The wreck, which happened around 10:45 a.m., closed the thoroughfare's southbound lanes, just north of the Walt Stephens Road overpass, near mile marker 226.

A tractor-trailer rear-ended a second tractor-trailer that was slowing, causing the two to "jackknife," Henry County Police spokesman Officer Christopher Fowler said. After the initial collision, a white then minivan crashed into the rear tractor-trailer.

The drivers' names were not available at press time.

The driver of the minivan was flown to an Atlanta hospital. The driver was listed in stable condition, Fowler said.

Along with the driver of the first tractor-trailer, the minivan's driver will be cited for following too closely, Fowler said.

The two trucks blocked the interstate's three lanes until authorities could clear the wreck. Authorities used a shoulder on the interstate to allow cars to pass the blockage, relieving some of the congestion.

"That's certainly better than a complete closure," said Bert Brantley, a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Cars backed up for about five miles and reopening the highway was slowed because of leaking fuel from at least one of the tractor-trailers. All lanes of the interstate were reopened just before 2 p.m., Brantley said.

"It takes a while to recover from these types of things," Brantley said. "These types of things just don't clear out quickly."

Staff writer Michael Davis contributed to this report.