Eight vehicles were involved in the wreck that occurred at about 2:20 p.m. just north of the Hickory Grove Road overpass.
As traffic in the northbound lanes of the interstate was slowing or stopping for a construction zone, the driver of a white 2005 Volvo semi-truck struck the rear of a black 2006 BMW, according to Cobb Police.
The BMW, driven by Gregory Millsaps of Marietta, was knocked forward into the rear of a white 2011 Chrysler Town and Country minivan, which then plowed into another semi-truck and four other vehicles.
Millsaps, 47, died when his car became fully engulfed in flames, police said.
Millsaps, a softball player, as well as a women’s and Little League coach, was remembered by friends, neighbors and teammates on a public sports message board, softballcenter.com, with posts that stated, “RIP Greg Millsaps #22.”
Millsaps’ father-in-law, Carter Loftis, posted on the site, “A wonderful son-in-law. A real tragedy for our family. Now to Atlanta to be with my daughter and granddaughter and the entire family. A love lost. Be with God and play well.”
One friend, Jeremy Holmes of Covington, met Millsaps through their mutual love of softball about four years ago and traveled the country together playing tournaments.
“He was the funniest,” Holmes said. “He always had jokes and pranks.”
Millsaps, who was survived by his wife, Elaine, and daughter, directed the “Super” East Division of the 2013 of the National Softball Association World Series, and was a familiar face in the Big Chicken Classic in Marietta, as well as other tournaments in Conyers, Atlanta and Columbus.
Charlene Benson of Roswell said her son was always a fan of baseball, but also played football on the Wheeler High School team in the 1980s.
Millsaps stayed involved in sports as he got older in order to inspire other people, Benson said.
The funeral will be Sunday at 4 p.m., after two hours of visitation, at the Eastside Baptist Church at 2450 Lower Roswell Road in Marietta.
The driver of the Volvo was Vahid Husic, 40, of Lawrenceville, who was transported to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries, said Officer Mike Bowman with Cobb Police.
The driver of the Chrysler minivan, Jonathan Phenicie, 38, of Cumming, and his father, a rear seat passenger, Dale Phenicie, 72, of Peachtree City, were transported by ambulance to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital where they were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
The front-seat passenger and wife of Dale, Barbara Phenicie, 71, was pronounced dead on arrival at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital.
The eight-vehicle crash crossed four travel lanes and two emergency lanes, Bowman said. Traffic was diverted through Marietta, doubling most commute times that evening.