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Deadly Chain-Reaction Crash in NW Georgia

Aired March 14, 2002 - 10:44   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We want to give you an update now on the story that topped this hour, this word we got this morning of a massive car pile-up, car and semi tractor trailer pile-up, we should say. It happened north of Georgia, really on the border of Georgia and Tennessee.

Let's check in now with Mark Dickinson. He's with our affiliate WTVC, and he's actually there, or near the scene, I believe, in Ringgold, Georgia, which is right there near the border.

Mark, can you hear me?

MARK DICKINSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I can, Leon.

Let me begin with just giving you an idea of the injuries involved here. It's now being confirmed that 10 people have died. There are dozens of other injuries, and we're told there might have been as many as 100 vehicles involved.

Again, I'm in Ringgold here, where a lot of the traffic is being diverted off of the interstate. The accident itself happened about there or four miles away on Interstate 75, near the Tennessee-Georgia line. Now this is normally a section of interstate that we wouldn't associate with accidents.

But the problem was fog. A Georgia trooper told me right before the accident that visibility was 25 feet. With that decreased visibility, it caused a massive chain reaction. Witnesses described cars on top of cars, cars under tractor trailers, cars split in half.

A little while ago, I spoke with a school bus driver who told me that she's actually never seen fog role across this part of interstate. Another driver told me that this was a section of interstate never associated with any sort of accident, because it's just a little bit of a slope. Again, the problem was fog.

Another driver who passed by the accident saw the carnage described as an event that he'll never forget.

Reporting live from Georgia, Kadusah (ph) County, Georgia, Mark Dickinson, CNN.

HARRIS: Thank you very much. We appreciate the update. And, Mark, you might want to hear this as well. I just checked the Associate Press wires, and they're now putting out a report that perhaps that number of dead there may be overstated. Mark, you just heard the same thing we had heard earlier about possibly 10. They're now saying the number may be as low as two. Now of course we won't know until they get most of all this cleared up.

But, Mark, did you find out exactly where these people are being taken to the injured, and those who may have been killed here, the area hospitals they may be going to?

DICKINSON: Well, actually, they're being taken to hospitals throughout the area. The hospital here in Kadusah Country. They're being taken up to Chattanooga, which is just a few miles up the road. And we have rescue workers from throughout Georgia and Tennessee. I've seen them as far away as 20 miles away in Bradley County, Tennessee. Of course, emergency workers here, emergency workers come from East Ridge, Tennessee.

And you know, they have these drills all throughout the years, these massive casualty drills for scenarios just like this. We're part of what's called a tri-state community aid, where all the agencies do get together in times of a crisis. So they were ready for this, and again, they're being brought in from all over the tri-state region.

HARRIS: Yes, strange you should mention they're being brought in from the tri-state area. We understand they're also bringing back some of the officers who had been dispatched to the Tri-State Crematorium, that story that's been unfolding there in Noble, Georgia, which is not too far away.

We appreciate -- sorry, go ahead, Mark.

DICKINSON: I was just saying it's the same type of all the agencies getting together and working these type of drills, and they really have had the practice with the events with the Tri-State Crematory in Noble.

HARRIS: Yes, it's going to be a mess up there for a while.

Mark Dickinson, thank you very much. Mark Dickinson from WTVC.

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