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Two killed in fiery I-85 crash involving fuel tanker identified

The crash sparked multiple fires and caused damage to the interstate that took roughly 10 hours to repair.

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Police have identified two people who were killed in a fiery wreck that had blocked all lanes on Interstate 85 in Gwinnett County for hours.

Gwinnett Police said the fire was caused by an accident between a fuel tanker and a passenger vehicle. New investigative details now suggest that a silver Volkswagen Passat driven by 31-year-old Emerald Lynn of Norcross was stopped in the second lane from the right after having been involved in another accident.

Police said that a Freightliner truck pulling a fuel tanker with 8,500 pounds of fuel approached the rear of Lynn's vehicle and, for unknown reasons, was unable to stop. The driver of that vehicle has since been identified as 44-year-old Yonas Worku of Snellville, Georgia.

After the initial collision, both vehicles separated from each other before the tanker spun sideways across four lanes of traffic. It then flipped multiple times.

Police said that both vehicles came to rest adjacent to one another and were quickly engulfed in flames. Both Lynn and Worku died from their injuries.

The resulting cleanup and investigation coupled with a massive fire and additional blazes starting in and around the highway left the route shut down at least partially for roughly 10 hours.

Businesses on Dawson Boulevard and Crescent Drive in the area were evacuated, according to officials.

Motorists were advised to avoid the area and police diverted northbound traffic off of I-85 at I-285. Complete clearing of I-85 didn't happen until around 6 p.m. Southbound lanes of the interstate were also reopened, but backups were expected to continue for an extended period of time.

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