GSP Report IDs Slain Semi Driver

November 19, 2018

The Georgia State Patrol has now identified the tractor-trailer driver who died in Friday's tragic I-59 wreck as Ralph Elam, 44, of Tillman, S.C. Here is the GSP's preliminary report as of Sunday night around 8:29, reproduced here verbatim:


(Photo courtesy Dade Sheriff's Office)


On Nov. 16, around noon, Vehicle #1 (Volvo tractor-trailer) was traveling north on I-59. Vehicle #2 (Peterbuilt tractor-trailer) was traveling south on I-59 in the right lane. Vehicle #1 exited the roadway to the left, crossed the grass center median, and re-entered the roadway on the southbound lanes of travel. The front of Vehicle #1 then struck the front of Vehicle #2 in the right southbound lane. After impact the trailers of both vehicles separated from tractors coming to an uncontrolled rest blocking all southbound lanes of travel. Vehicle #2 rotated 180 degrees, going through the guardrail coming to an uncontrolled rest off the roadway facing north. Vehicle #1 also rotated 180 degrees coming to an uncontrolled rest off the roadway facing south.


Driver #1 - Gustavo Pagan-Rodriguez, age 37 of Breinigsville, PA

Driver #2 (deceased) - Ralph Elam, age 44 of Tillman, SC


Pagan-Rodriguez was charged with Driving Under the Influence, Driving on the Wrong Side of Roadway, Driving within a gore or median, Failure to maintain lane, and Homicide by Vehicle (1st Degree). This is an-ongoing Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team (SCRT) investigation. The report is not complete.

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