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Fatal crash closes Nassau Highway

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Updated: 12/19/2013 8:38 am
BRYCEVILLE Fla.-- Traffic was backed up for hours on Highway 301 in Nassau County after a Pritchett logging truck slammed into the rear of another truck that had stopped on the highway.

"I was sitting here for a lane closure and I heard a big bang," said dirt hauler and witness, Grenville Beattie. 

Troopers say the trucks collided with such force it sent the impacted truck's load through the front of its cab, killing the driver.

"It was smoke and dust and it was all over with," said Beattie.

That caused a chain reaction involving a semi, a third logging truck and three other passenger cars, including a mail carrier.

All were stopped waiting to be flagged through a construction zone on Highway 301. Three were sent to the hospital with injuries, including the Pritchett driver who troopers believe caused the crash. 

Beattie says he held his breath as he watched the wreck in his rear view mirror.

"I've been driving 27 years, I've been in every state in the continent and I've seen a lot of wrecks but I've never seen something like this," he told Action News. 

He says his instinct was to try and help the driver trapped in the logging truck that was struck, but it was too late.

"I checked his pulse and his pulse was very weak, we were trying to get him out of the truck but there was nothing we could do," he said.

FHP is still working to find out why the Pritchett logging truck failed to stop. 

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