A dump truck driver accidentally killed his friend while both men were driving across a bridge recently in Georgia.
Forty-eight-year-old Neil Gayle of Lithonia, Ga. was killed Sunday after the truck he was driving was hit from behind by another dump truck being driven by a co-worker and friend. Police have not identified the man. The impact sent both trucks plummeting from an I-20 Access Road bridge down into the Yellow River near Covington, according to wsbtv.com.
A group of men who witnessed the accident went into the river to help. While Gayle’s friend survived the fall without life-threatening injuries, Gayle himself was pinned under his truck in about five feet of water and could not be pulled free. Diesel fuel leaking from the trucks into the river made rescuing efforts more difficult and left at least one man feeling ill with blurry vision, headache and nausea, cbs46.com reports.
Emergency crews later pulled both trucks from the river and recovered Gayle’s body. Gayle, a truck driver for the last 20 years, had been working for Lithonia-based G&J Trucking at the time of the accident, along with his friend.
“We’ve had a lot of stuff, but never lost a driver. This one is beyond comprehension. It’s just very painful,” said Gilbert Atkinson, managing partner with G&J Trucking.
Atkinson said the two men had been friends.
“Everyone’s pretty distraught, because these are guys that we love and talk with every day. These are guys that are extended family,” he said.
Gayle’s friend, who’s from New Jersey, had been following Gayle because he’s unfamiliar with the area.
The Newton Citizen reported that Gayle may have stopped on the narrow bridge during a rainstorm to avoid hitting another truck traveling in the opposite direction. It’s at that point when Gayle’s co-worker may have struck him from behind and sent both trucks through the bridge’s concrete barriers.
Crews working to repair bridge where dump trucks went over, leaving one dead. MORE: https://t.co/9WXZ79o8bv pic.twitter.com/xHcsffKxvA
— CBS46 (@cbs46) July 18, 2016