Georgia State Patrol said a multi-car collision Tuesday that led to Gwinnett County firefighters rescuing three horses from a damaged trailer resulted in two traffic citations for a tractor-trailer driver.

Georgia State Patrol said Stephen Marvin was driving a tractor-trailer and following a GMC van too closely when traffic slowed and the tractor-trailer struck the GMC van. The van was pushed into a trailer containing three horses and being pulled by a Chevrolet Avalanche. Police said the trailer separated from the truck.

Police said the trailer and Avalanche struck a Honda Pilot. The Avalanche was then struck by a Peterbuilt tractor-trailer. The horse trailer struck the median wall.

Gwinnett County fire crews were called to the scene just after 4:30 p.m. There were fears among first responders that it could turn into a hazmat situation because the box truck was carrying acetylene tanks.

“Further assessment of the box truck revealed heavy damage to the vehicle but all acetylene tanks remained intact,” Gwinnett County fire and Emergency Services Firefighter Driver Engineer Donald Strother said. “Once that was confirmed, the arduous process of freeing the horses was initiated.”

Fire officials said two of the horses could be removed from the damaged trailer without heavy-duty equipment being needed. Extrication tools were needed, however, to free the third horse, which had sustained unspecified injuries.

“Firefighters did an outstanding job of cutting open the horse trailer without causing any further injury to the horse,” Strother said. “Once extricated, the horse was able to walk despite its sustained injuries.

Georgia State Patrol said all three horses suffered various, unspecified injuries. Gwinnett County fire contacted Animal Welfare to determine how to care for the injured horses. The team from Gwinnett County Animal Welfare transported the horses for treatment and reported that all three are healthy and were returned to their owner.

Marvin and the driver of the GMC cutaway van were treated for injuries. Police said Marvin was cited for following too closely and improper lane change.

“The hazmat team applied granular absorbents to help clean up the diesel fuel that had leaked onto the highway,” Strother said. “Once the wreckage was removed from the highway, all fire units returned to service.”

The accident caused severe delays on I-85 northbound.

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