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Driver survives collision with log truck
wreck 1
Law enforcement officials block the road after a log truck hit a car on Highway 17 and its load tumbled onto the road. No one suffered serious injuries in the accident. - photo by Photo by Paul Floeckher

Kiersten Close’s plans for a beach day with her best friend came to a jarring halt Monday afternoon.

Close’s Toyota Corolla was hit by a log truck as she was turning toward her friend’s driveway on Highway 17 in Guyton.

Her car was totaled, but Close, 19, walked away from it.

“It happened so fast, and afterward I was sitting there and I just prayed, honestly,” she said. “I was like, ‘Thank you, Lord.’”

After hitting Close’s car, the truck flipped on its side and spilled its load of logs across both lanes of the highway. The truck driver, whose name has not been released, was taken to Memorial Health University Medical Center for treatment.

Joel Mock of the Georgia State Patrol said he did not know how badly the truck driver was hurt, but added that investigators told him the injuries were not life-threatening.

Close’s car and the Neidlinger Logging truck were both southbound on Highway 17 around noon, according to Mock. When Close slowed to turn left into the driveway, Mock said, the truck attempted to pass Close’s car but instead hit it as Close began to make her turn.

“The first vehicle was using her (turn) signal, going to turn in the driveway,” Mock said. “The tractor trailer made an angular impact on the northbound side of the highway.”

The Toyota spun and came to rest facing in the opposite direction, as the truck overturned and slid. Close said her neck was “a little sore” after her head hit the side of her car, but otherwise she was not injured.

“I just kind of got started spinning and I hit my head, but (the impact) didn’t feel that bad,” Close said. “Then I realized it was kind of bad when I tried to get out of my car and I couldn’t even open my door. So I was very shocked.”

What wasn’t shocking, she said, was that a wreck occurred on that stretch of Highway 17, around the 1600 block. She said “people just fly down” the road.

“People just come too fast, and log trucks and stuff can’t stop very well,” she said. “I think that was part of the problem.”

The Georgia State Patrol is investigating the crash. Charges could be pending, Mock said.

Though her beach trip was canceled, Close kept the day’s events in perspective — especially considering what could have happened had the truck hit her car farther into its turn.

“They said if I would’ve been two feet farther, I would’ve died,” Close said. “I guess that God was with me, so I’m very, very grateful.”