Five people involved in an early morning seven-car pileup on I-75 have been charged with drunken driving, police said Friday.
A pedestrian who police believe started the chain of wrecks also was charged, Clayton County police spokeswoman Danielle Rosa said.
“The pedestrian started walking into the interstate,” Rosa said. “That’s what kind of caused the seven-car pileup.”
The pedestrian, whose name was not released, was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition, police said.
According to police, shortly after 3 a.m. the pedestrian entered the southbound side of I-75 at C.W. Grant Parkway just north of I-285 — near the exit to the international concourse of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport — and was struck by a vehicle.
Six other vehicles subsequently collided in an apparent chain-reaction pileup that blocked all lanes of the southbound highway, police said. Clayton police and the Georgia State Patrol investigated the scene, and it was cleared by 9 a.m., authorities said.
The arrested were identified by the State Patrol and Clayton police as: William Scott Kirk II, 23, of McDonough, charged with DUI and following too closely; Najm Martinez, 33, of East Point, charged with DUI and driving less safe; Joseph Daise, 23, of Jonesboro, charged with DUI; Tawan Hayes, 38, of Riverdale, charged with DUI and following too closely; and Joshua Noble, charged with DUI. No additional information was available on Noble, Clayton police Sgt. Kevin Hughes said.
Despite the disruption to traffic, police consider the timing of the accident fortunate.
“Luckily, nobody was killed,” Rosa said. “And we got a little lucky because it was a holiday weekend, so traffic wasn’t bad.”
The five drivers charged with driving under the influence were taken to the Clayton County Jail, she said.
Police would not say whether the accused drivers were coming from the same place.