1 dead, 43 injured in tractor-trailer, tour bus accident

1 killed, dozens injured in Gilmer Co. collision

GILMER COUNTY, Ga. -- One person was killed and 43 others were injured in an accident involving a tractor-trailer truck and a tour bus Thursday, according to Gilmer County's fire chief. 

The accident happened at the intersection of Whitestone Road at Ga. State Road 515 around 11:15 a.m. 

According to the Georgia State Patrol, the bus, which was carrying 48 people, was traveling northbound when a tractor-trailer attempted to make a turn onto SR 515 from Whitestone Road. The tractor-trailer had to stop due to oncoming traffic. While it was stopped in the northbound lane, the tractor-trailer was struck in its left rear tandem area by the bus. 

According to GSP, 43 people were transported to local hospitals, including Fannin Regional Hospital, Piedmont Mountain Hospital and Northside-Cherokee Hospital. One person was life-flighted to Kennestone Hospital in Marietta. 

11Alive's Valerie Hoff reports that the tour bus driver was killed in the crash.

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All northbound lanes of Highway 515 were closed as an "extensive triage effort" was underway, according to Gilmer County Fire Chief Tony Pritchett.

A witness who drive by the accident told 11Alive it appeared the bus was "full of elderly people". 

Skytracker footage showed that the bus was from Greatime Getaways in Marietta, Ga. According to the bus company's website, they offer a "safe, fun, and affordable way to enjoy exciting casino action from the northwest Atlanta area."

The tractor-trailer involved in the accident is owned by Polcon, a title company based in Charlotte, N.C.  According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, they have five trucks in their fleet with no crashes or major safety issues in the last two years. 

The investigation is ongoing, according to the GSP.

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PHOTOS: Tractor-trailer, tour bus accident

LINK | Traffic maps and cameras


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