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Truck explodes on Hwy. 53
Driver escapes harm
-A-Rig explosion pic1
Firefighters work to put out a tractor-trailer blaze that shut down Hwy. 53 in western Dawson County for several hours Monday afternoon. - photo by By Michele Hester
Jacob Walker was on his way home from making out-of-state deliveries Monday afternoon when the tractor-trailer he was driving left Hwy. 53, caught fire and exploded in western Dawson County.

Walker, who hauls poultry equipment for Lexington-based Circle W Transport, was not injured in the crash and was able to get away from the truck before the explosion.

Watching as authorities worked the scene, Walker shook his head in disbelief as flames consumed the tractor-trailer.

"The driver (of another car), I don't know if it was a woman or a man, crossed over the yellow line and I had to swerve to miss it," the 22-year-old said. "That's when I slid off the road."

Both lanes of Hwy. 53 West were shut down for several hours east of Tinsley Road as crews put out the fire, which spread to nearby trees, and cleared the wreckage.

Billy Thurmond, director of Dawson County Emergency Services, said more than a dozen fire personnel from four stations used about 1,700 gallons of water to control the blaze.

Dawson County Sheriff's Sgt. Johnny Holtzclaw said the road reopened about 8:30 p.m.

As of Tuesday afternoon, no charges had been filed in connection with the wreck, which occurred about 4:30 p.m.

The Georgia State Patrol is handling the investigation.

Trooper Todd Hinson said speed did not appear to be a factor in the incident.