1 dead in multi-vehicle wreck on Ga. 400 - New York News

1 dead in multi-vehicle wreck on Ga. 400

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ATLANTA -

A three-vehicle crash on southbound Georgia 400 left one woman dead and a man injured, according to the Forsyth County Sheriff's Department.

According to the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office, 60-year-old Maria Martinez, of Cumming, Ga., was traveling southbound in a Toyota Yaris near Pilgrim Mill Road when she struck the rear end of a tractor-trailer. The impact knocked the Yaris out of control, and the vehicle struck a 2004 Ford Econoline van. The Toyota and the van went off the road and came to a stop near a wooded area, according to officials.

First-responders praised the efforts of three Good Samaritans who stopped their vehicles and pulled the driver out of the van, which had erupted into flames.

Todd Hollaway, an emergency medical tech in Dawson County, and Gary McBryar, were two of those helpers.

After first trying to help Martinez, who was unconscious in her vehicle, they heard a cry for help from a man in the van, which had caught fire.

"He said, ‘I'm handicapped, I'm in a wheelchair, get me out,'" said McBryar. "So we ran over to the side and tried to open the lift gate door and the impact had jammed it back.  We were able to bend the door back but the other door was jammed so tight we couldn't open it.  He said, ‘Forget about that, just come get me out.'"

They got him out in just the nick of time.

"I went over there and we assisted with getting him out of the vehicle with just minutes to spare. The inside of the van filled up pretty quick with smoke," Hollaway said.

The Good Samaritans said the disabled driver thanked them for their efforts.

"You weren't thinking about anything, it was like, somebody's in trouble, go help him. Everybody's taught you help your neighbor. Your neighbor's not just the person beside you, across the street, it's anybody you meet," said McBryar.

Martinez and the van's driver were transported from the scene to a local hospital, where Martinez was later pronounced dead. Martinez was reportedly a school employee for the Forsyth Board of Education.

The wreck shut down southbound lanes of Ga. 400 for at least an hour. They were reopened shortly after 1 p.m. Monday.

The crash remains under investigation.

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