LOWNDES COUNTY, Ga. — It pays to pay attention on the highway when driving. A motorist in south Georgia took a wild ride last week after their vehicle hit the flatbed of a tow truck and vaulted through the air, flipping before landing on the highway.
Startling body camera video that WSB-TV obtained from the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office shows the spectacular crash on U.S. 84 northeast of Valdosta on May 24.
Deputies were investigating a traffic incident on one side of the road and a tow truck was in the opposite lane of the divided highway, according to the video.
A car traveling in the same lane as the tow truck hit the flatbed at full speed and flew up the ramp. The car soared over the cab of the tow truck and flipped before crashing to the ground, striking another vehicle in the left lane of the highway.
One deputy can be heard on the video advising the dispatcher that a vehicle had rolled over and calling for medical assistance.
The deputy rushed to the vehicle and aided the 21-year-old woman from Florida, who reportedly survived the crash, WALB-TV reported.
Deputies said the crash showed the importance of drivers obeying the state’s “Move Over Law.” According to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, the state’s move over law requires motorists to move over one lane when possible if an emergency vehicle with flashing lights is parked on the shoulder of the highway. If a motorist is unable to move over, they are required to slow down below the posted speed limit and be prepared to stop.
Penalties for not abiding by the law include a $500 fine and three points on the motorist’s driving record.
“People not moving over actually has hit my family as well,” Louis Kenda, part owner of Kenda Truck Center, told WALB. “In 1966 when my father was 12, he lost his father, my grandfather. He was hooking up to a vehicle and a drunk driver rear-ended the tow truck that he was right behind causing him to pass away at the scene.”
According to a report by Georgia State Police, the motorist’s vehicle vaulted approximately 120 feet over the tow truck and hit another car in the back, WSB reported. The car then traveled another 23 feet after its impact with the other vehicle, according to the television station.
A deputy was hit by flying debris from the crash and taken to an area hospital, WSB reported. No other injuries were reported. It is unclear whether any charges will be filed against the motorist, according to the television station.
Kendra said incidents like last week’s crash are scary for tow truck operators.
“I can control the load that I am towing, I can control where it’s at once I arrive on the scene, and I can control how it gets off my truck,” Kendra told WALB. “The only thing I cannot control is the people driving by. That is the worst nightmare.”