Authorities Closer to I-85 Crash Victim Identity

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia

Authorities in Franklin County are one step closer to identifying the driver of an 18-wheeler, burned beyond recognition Friday evening when his truck overturned on Interstate 85.

The accident happened Friday at about 5:30 p.m. near Exit 164 southbound on I-85 in Carnesville.

Franklin County Sheriff Stevie Thomas said the truck ran off the road and overturned, at which point the cab burst into flames.

Rescuers were not able to pull the driver to safety and he died at the scene.

All of his identification and the identity of the trucking company he worked for were also lost in the fire.

Over the weekend, the remains were sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab for a positive identification.

However Monday evening, Sheriff Stevie Thomas said that turned out to be unsuccessful.

“The DNA didn’t work because everything was burned so bad,” Thomas said. “The dental records also didn’t work so we had to go another avenue.”

Thomas said investigators were able to find a VIN number on the truck and he said from there, they have been able to trace the truck to a building materials supplier in Alabama.

“What we’re doing is we’re going to back track supposedly to the last drop the driver made and hopefully they will be able to tell us who the driver is. From there, we’re going to go sit down with his family in Alabama,” Thomas said.

Thomas said they have identified the name of the trucking company and are working with Alabama authorities who have a reported missing person case.

Thomas said more details would be released once a positive identification on the driver is made.