Beer truck crashes into Columbus business - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Beer truck crashes into Columbus business

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It's not everyday that a tractor trailer rolls away from its driver and across an expressway but Otis Smith's week didn't exactly get off on the right start.

His rig ended up plowing through a store front in Columbus around 4 AM Monday.

He's been driving trucks for 26 years but when he stopped at a Chevron on Manchester Expressway, his routine trip from Albany to LaGrange turned into a disaster.

"The truck just started rolling. I was inside the store. I stopped to get some directions. I looked out the window and the truck was rolling. I didn't think it was my truck at first. I thought it was a truck passing by my truck. I looked again and it was my truck. I just started running after it," Smith told WTVM.

He says he thought he had locked the brake.

The 18-wheeler crossed 10 lanes of traffic and tore through the front of a Hotel Liquidation Warehouse, next to the Dollar General. Luckily, it happened before the morning rush hour.

The truck was carrying more than 600 cases of beer when it crashed, with an estimated value of $8,000-$10,000. With all of that weight, crews had to remove all of the alcohol on board before taking on the task of pulling the tractor trailer out.

The smell of beer filled the air as crews shoveled crushed bottles and cans of brew. The remaining intact cases were packaged back up.

"It's a lot of wasted product. A lot of glass that spilled. I spoke with the driver and we both agreed that he was blessed. God was guiding his truck and no one was hurt," said Anne Culliver with Labor Ready, the clean-up crew that was called out to the scene.

"All I can do now is thank God nobody was hurt," Otis Smith added.

After hours of clearing away debris, the truck was slowly pulled away from the store front, revealing the extent of the damage.

Looking at the aftermath, Smith, the veteran driver, said the victims of this freak accident are his truck, the building and his pride.

One third of the beer the driver was carrying was destroyed in the crash, more than 200 cases.

He says he had just recently started working for the truck company out of Albany.

Damage to the furniture warehouse is estimated to be at least $200,000.

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