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Three People Injured in 3-Vehicle Wreck on Highway 53

The three-vehicle crash shut down Highway 53 for several hours Tuesday morning.

Three people were injured in a three-vehicle crash Tuesday morning that shut down Highway 53 near the Hall County line for several hours, according to the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office.

At about 8:57 a.m., Bobby Simonds, 69, of Toccoa, Ga., was traveling westbound on Highway 53 in a heavy-duty work van owned by Clipper Petroleum. He began to slow the vehicle down as he approached a large amount of mud that had spilled onto the highway. As he was slowing down he was rear-ended by a FedEx truck driven by Carlos McDonald, 58, of Danielsville, Ga.

Deputy Sheriff John Crane reported that upon impact the FedEx truck slid into the back of the work van, pushing both vehicles into the mud. The FedEx truck then slid into the eastbound lane of Highway 53, striking a 1998 Honda Accord driven by Kenneth Hetzel, 48, of Marietta.

Two of the three drivers, Simonds and Hetzel, were taken to Northside Hospital-Forsyth. Simonds was treated and released; Hetzel was being treated at the time of this writing for non-life threatening injuries and McDonald sustained minor injures, but was not taken to the hospital.

Authorities had to reroute traffic during the time Highway 53 was shut down, which was from about 9 a.m. until 11:08 a.m.

The Georgia Department of Transportation was contacted to help locate the source that spilled the mud. It appears a dump truck left a trail of mud down Highway 53 until it arrived in Dawson County and turned off the highway, authorities said.

While the collision remains under investigation, no charges have been filed.

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