Deadly head-on shuts I-85

BUFORD - A two-vehicle collision in Buford left one motorist dead and shut down I-85 for hours on Wednesday afternoon.

A pickup truck was traveling southbound on I-85 when it crossed over the median and collided with a tractor-trailer in the northbound lane about 5 p.m., said Gwinnett County Police Department Spokesman Darren Moloney.

Both vehicles caught fire as a result of the accident, which occurred just north of Hamilton Mill Road in Buford.

The driver of the pickup was trapped inside the truck and died at the scene, said Lt. Thomas Rutledge, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Fire Department.

Moloney was unable to release the identity of the deceased on Wednesday night.

The driver of the tractor-trailer was treated for a minor injury at the scene and was released, Rutledge said.

Moloney said the driver of the tractor-trailer spoke with investigators as they tried to piece together the cause of the accident. The Gwinnett County Police Accident Investigation Unit was in charge of the investigation and did not have any more information as of press time.

The wreck shut down both northbound and southbound lanes of I-85, causing extreme delays on the interstate and other nearby roads. One southbound lane reopened nearly two hours after the incident, but both northbound lanes were expected to remain closed until 10:55 p.m., according to the Georgia Department of Transportation Web site.

Northbound lanes were closed longer due to the investigation and the removal of debris. Only one southbound lane reopened because of the emergency equipment in the roadway.

One motorist said she started heading north on I-85 from the Mall of Georgia, exit 115, at 5:30 p.m. It was 21⁄2 hours before she made it five miles to Hamilton Mill Road, which was the next possible exit.