The tractor-trailer plowed into an SUV and then rolled over a small passenger car that burst into flames, Sgt. 1st Class Chris Nease of the Georgia State Patrol said. The big truck came to a halt after ramming the back of a tanker. Those killed were traveling on Interstate 16 near Savannah in two passenger vehicles. The cars were mangled by the crash.
All five of the victims were nursing students at Georgia Southern University. St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System said the students were commuting to the hospital for their last clinical training of the year.
"The loss of any student, especially in a tragic way, is particularly painful," Brooks Keel, president of Georgia Southern, said in a statement. "Losing five students is almost incomprehensible."
The Georgia State Patrol said three people were also injured and seven vehicles were damaged.
The crash happened at about 6 a.m. in Bryan County. Traffic was heavy during that time because of an unrelated accident about a mile ahead that forced motorists to slow, Nease said.
The university said the students were all Georgia residents in their junior year — Emily E. Clark, 20, of Powder Springs, Morgan J. Bass, 20, of Leesburg, Abbie L. Deloach, 21, of Savannah, Catherine M. Pittman, 21, of Alpharetta and Caitlyn N. Baggett, 21, of Millen.
"You could tell they really loved what they did," Sherry Danello, the hospital's chief nursing officer, said in a statement. "They didn't just go through the task, they really connected to the patients."
The crash brought traffic to a standstill for more than six hours as road crews and tow trucks cleared the wreckage. Troopers kept a 6-mile stretch of the highway closed long after cars began moving again.
"There was no fog or smoke. It was clear as a bell," said Sgt. Chris Rodewolt of the State Patrol.
Note:Lets say a little prayer for their souls and also hope and pray that such will not happen again