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Woman, Child, 4, Killed in Fiery I-75 Crash; Police Seek Trucker

A Calhoun woman and her passenger died in the incident that closed all northbound lanes and the exit of Interstate 75 at mile marker 293 in Cartersville.

Updated 11:30 p.m.

Authorities identified the crash victims as Maria Tabuena, 29, of Calhoun, and her passenger, Melina Trichell, 4.

GSP spokesman Gordy Wright said they were traveling northbound in a 1998 Ford Expedition in the right lane of Interstate 75 at exit 293 about 1:25 p.m. when the tractor-trailer changed lanes—from the center lane to the right lane—and struck the Expedition in the left side with the right side of the trailer. The big rig continued northbound as the Expedition ran off the road, struck a guardrail, hit an overhead sign support post and then became engulfed in flames.

The search for the tractor-trailer involved continues. Wright said troopers have interviewed several witnesses in an attempt to gather information and identify the truck.  

The lookout for a late 90's "long-nose" Peterbilt tractor, maroon in color, and pulling a silver trailer with damage to the right side, is still valid. Witnesses describe the tractor and trailer as "very dirty," Wright added.

Anyone with information about the truck and the driver, or anyone who may have witnessed the crash, is asked to call the Georgia State Patrol post in Cartersville at 770-387-3701.

Updated 3:30 p.m.

A vehicle traveling northbound was forced out of the right lane by a tractor-trailer, causing it to strike a guardrail and an overhead support pillar before catching on fire about 1:25 p.m., said Georgia State Patrol spokesman Franka Young. "There are two known fatalities," she added.

Troopers and officers are on the lookout for the driver of the tractor-trailer, which is a maroon, long-nose Peterbilt with silver accents. The tractor and trailer are dirty, and the trailer will be damaged on its right side, authorities say.

Anyone with information is asked to contact GSP's Cartersville post at 770-387-3701.

Original Report

Interstate 75 northbound at U.S. 411 in Cartersville is shut down due to a fatal crash and vehicle fire.

Bartow County Sheriff's Office sent this alert about 1:50 p.m.:

AVOID I-75 northbound near exit 293. All northbound lanes closed. Vehicle fire with fatal accident. AVOID area.

Bartow County 911 services report a fatal accident involving a vehicle fire. At this time the northbound lanes and exit are closed.

BCSO is assisting other emergency agencies in the area with traffic control and when lanes open use caution due to emergency workers in the area.

Check back with Cartersville Patch for updates.

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George Jones December 22, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Check the truck wash at exit 306 at adairsville and on toward Chatt. The driver will prob. try to wash away the evidience.
Always an Emerson girl! December 23, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Why not call the number listed above to advise the GSP of your suggestion? I seriously doubt any of them will read your comment here.
Candi Rodgers January 10, 2013 at 07:12 PM
A silver trailer is most likely a refridgerated trailer. That should narrow the search somwhat.

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