Five Georgia Southern University students who comprised of Savannah resident Abbie DeLoach, Millen resident Caitlyn Baggett, Leesburg resident Morgan Bass, Alpharetta resident Catherine Mckay Pittman, and Powder Springs resident Emily Clark, died on April 22, 2015 when a tractor trailer rig hit their vehicle as it was sitting in traffic on Interstate 16 in Bryan County.
Attorneys at the website of Ausband & Dumont say that the families of the victims filed a wrongful death lawsuit in May 2015 against U.S. Express Entities, the parent company of Mississipi-based Total Transportation and its subsidiaries, as well as Pooler-based Graywolf Logistics and the truck driver, who is Shreveport, Louisiana resident John Wayne Johnson.
According to investigations made by the Georgia State Patrol, the tractor trailer rig-car collision caused a seven-vehicle pileup.
The lawsuit stated that the truck that Johnson was driving should have contained a collision avoidance system that is designed to provide the driver with visual and auditory warnings that there are objects that are blocking the truck’s path. It claimed that the truck had been traveling at around 70 miles per hour and did not slow when it hit a Toyota Corolla that was occupied by Clark, Pittman, and Baggett and the Ford Escape that was directly in front of the Corolla that was occupied by Bass, Loganville resident Megan Richards, and Reidsville resident Brittany McDaniels. Richards and McDaniels survived the crash.
The lawsuit also said that people involved in the accident saw the “explosion of the fuel tank [that] engulfed the Toyota”. It also claims that there had been no bad weather, and that there had been no possible hindrances to Johnson’s seeing that there was traffic in front of him, noting “because he was drowsy or some other inexplicable reason, Johnson did not slow or stop…never applied brakes, never made any move to avoid a collision, before slamming into the rear of the Toyota at high speed”.