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Airborne truck falls on Slappey Boulevard

ALBANY, Ga. -- The driver of a tractor-trailer rig told police he "blacked out" shortly before 6 a.m. Friday, and that's why he drove his truck off a bridge to the highway below.

John Probert, 47, of Rebecca, told police he was driving for Orgill Trucking Co. of Tifton, headed west in the inside lane of the Liberty Expressway when he blacked out, losing control of his vehicle.

According to officials with the Albany Police Department, the semi veered left, went about 128 feet through the median before striking the guardrail. From there it was all downhill. The big truck went airborne, officials said, between the two bridges over North Slappey Boulevard before crashing to the highway below.

The ordeal wasn't over yet, though.

After striking a concrete pillar on Slappey, the semi was impacted by a 2009 Chevrolet Silverado owned by Reeves Construction Co. and driven by William Raines, 51.

Meanwhile, Willie Lee Ray, 59, sustained damage to his 1995 Chevrolet Camaro when he collided with debris left on the expressway from the semi's guardrail collision.

APD spokeswoman Phyllis Banks said the trailer portion of the rig had been loaded with hardware supplies, which were ultimately transferred to another truck so that the damaged vehicle could be removed from the highway. Police had no official word on how long traffic on Slappey Boulevard beneath the expressway was impeded, only that it was a "considerable length of time."

The driver of the tractor-trailer, whose condition was uncertain, was transported to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital for further observation, Banks said. Officials say no charges have yet been filed in the incident pending further investigation.