SAVANNAH, GA – A 3 year old boy was killed when a semi truck crashed into a minivan carrying a family heading south on I-95 about 45 miles outside of Savannah, Georgia in McIntosh County near mile marker 63 on December 27, 2009 about 12:30 pm.
The Thornton family from Pittsburgh, PA was on its way to a vacation in Florida when the semi tractor-trailer plowed into the rear of their minivan, killing 3-year old Sean Thornton who was in a car seat at the time.
According to Georgia State Police, at the time of the accident, the minivan was being driven by his mother, Susan Thornton, 38 years old who is listed in critical condition at a hospital in Savannah, GA.
The boy’s father, Daniel Thornton, 47 years old, and two other children Christopher, age 8 and Sarah, age 5 were also in the vehicle at the time. All sustained injuries – some serious, but all were reported as non-life-threatening.
The accident occurred when heavy traffic forced the family’s vehicle to slow down to about 5 mph when the 18 wheeler, driven by Willie Hill, 50 years old from Jacksonville, FL, slammed into the back of the minivan. The force of the accident caused the vehicles to become entangled and to be shoved off the roadway into the woods by the side of the road, knocking down a couple of trees along the way.
According to witnesses, the big rig was travelling about 70 mph at the time and never braked before plowing into the van. According to a story in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Hill could face criminal charges. Georgia State Patrol said that the accident is being investigated, but as of this morning, a spokeswoman from the district attorney’s office in McIntosh County said no charges had been filed.
Below is a Google street view of the approximate stretch of highway where the accident occurrred on Interstate 95 about 45 miles south of Savannah, GA. You can click and drag the mouse button to get a 360 degree view of the scene.