Name of victim, truck driver released in fatal tour bus crash

1 killed, dozens injured in Gilmer Co. collision

GILMER COUNTY, Ga. -- A 66-year-old man died in a tractor-trailer, tour bus crash Thursday morning. Police said Richard Rees of Marietta was driving a tour bus when it collided with a tractor-trailer driven by 56-year-old Charles Howard of Concord, North Carolina.

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

PHOTOS: Tractor-trailer, tour bus accident

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.

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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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