The driver of a
diesel tanker that wrecked when a bottle rocket was shot into his cab is
recovering from seven hours of brain surgery after being beaten and mugged at
the scene of the accident.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, trucker Rafael Diaz Jr. was in critical condition
on Wednesday, July 6, and required seven hours of brain surgery for his
injuries.A representative for Grady Memorial Hospital told Land Line that Diaz was still listed as a patient in the hospital, but was unable to give
any updated information on his condition because of privacy laws.
In the early hours
of Tuesday, July 5, Diaz was traveling eastbound on Donald Lee Hollowell
Highway when he was hit in the head with a bottle rocket, Atlanta police told
news Web site accessnorthga.com.
According to media
reports, eight to 11 juveniles were shooting fireworks as Diaz drove his truck
through the area. One of the teens fired a bottle rocket into the cab, hitting
Diaz below his left eye and shattering the bone.
The shock caused
Diaz to lose control of his truck – and the 7,500 gallons of diesel in its
tanker – which crossed the westbound lane of traffic, smashed a fire hydrant,
hit a curb, flipped on its side and slid down an embankment into an apartment
complex parking lot.
evacuated the apartments near where the truck careened to a stop. Only about 20
gallons of fuel leaked from the truck, and a second tanker was brought in to
remove the damaged rig’s payload.
After surgery, Diaz
told family members that the teens hit him repeatedly in the back of the head
and were demanding cash, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Atlanta police have
questioned at least two teens, and had in custody an unnamed 18-year-old who “caused the incident to occur,” police spokesperson Sylvia Abernathy told the Journal-Constitution.
– By Aaron
Ladage, staff writer