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Driver killed after steel beams crash through cab from back of truck

The incident happened near the intersection of Highway 124 and Highway 78.

SNELLVILLE, Ga. — Police say a truck driver is dead after the load he was carrying went through his cab Tuesday afternoon in Snellville.

According to Det. Jeffrey Manley with the Snellville Police Department, the incident happened near the intersection of State Route 10/US 78 and State Route 124.

A witness described the incident saying the truck driver was traveling eastbound on 78 and had to stop short, causing the load of steal beams to crash through the cab of the truck. 

"As the driver applied the brakes, the load which he was hauling was unsecured or not secured well enough, the load broke free and part of the load which was very heavy beams intruded into the cabin. The driver was pinned," Manley said. 

He said the driver, identified as 76-year-old William Turnage, was deceased at the scene. Turnage is from Columbus, Ga. and his next of kin has been notified. 

No other vehicles were involved and there were no other injuries. 

Along with Snellville Police Department Accident Investigation Unit, the Georgia Department of Public Safety's Motor Carrier Compliance Division and the Georgia State Patrol is investigating the scene. They will check to see if there are any skid marks on the roadway or if any of the nearby businesses had surveillance cameras facing the roadway. 

"It's a tragedy," Manley said. "It seems fairly rare that a load like that - that heavy - would come forward and intrude into the cab."

The nearby intersection was recently re-designed as a "Displaced Left Turn Intersection," according to the Georgia Department of Transportation. They have been sharing information across social media platforms to inform drivers on how it works.  

According to the City of Snellville, the intersection was converted on July 30.  

The truck belongs to Rodgers Metal Craft in Fortson, Ga. When contacted by 11Alive, they said they company is working to gather more details and would provide a statement later. 

Snellville Police posted an alert telling drivers to avoid West Main Street at Knollwood. They said all eastbound lanes are closed due to the accident. 

"I assume that obviously something was done incorrectly as far as securing that load," Manley said.

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