Woman killed in 3-vehicle accident on I-85 identified

(Photo credit: Annie Hubbell)
(Photo credit: Annie Hubbell)

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - A three-vehicle accident involving a tractor-trailer and two SUV's in Auburn on Monday afternoon has left one woman dead.

Jessica Renee Smith, 41, of  Saute Nacoche, Ga. was a passenger in the Chrysler PT Cruiser that was struck from behind and then collided with the trailer of a tractor trailer that was allegedly stopped on the interstate due to a previous accident at the 53 mile marker of I-85.

Smith was a restrained passenger and was killed instantly due to a severe head injury and blunt force injuries. Lee County Coroner Bill Harris pronounced Smith dead at the scene.

The accident happened about 3:50 p.m. in the northbound lane of I-85 at the Exit 51 off ramp and had Auburn Fire, EAMC EMS, and Auburn Police and two helicopters respond to the scene.

The two drivers of the SUV's were airlifted by Lifesaver helicopter of Cusseta, Ala. and Haynes helicopter of Montgomery, Ala. and flown to appropriate trauma hospitals. The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured.

Officials say it appears the tractor-trailer was stopped in the right hand lane due to traffic being backed up because of another wreck at the 53 mile marker that occurred earlier.

According to witness accounts, the vehicle with the fatality, a Chrysler PT Cruiser, was driving slowing for the stopped truck when the other SUV, a Toyota Highlander, struck it from behind, sending it under the trailer.

The Highlander then struck the rear of the trailer on the right side. Traffic was backed up in both directions for miles due to the two accidents.

The accident remains under investigation by the Auburn Police and Lee County Coroner.

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