Fiery wreck kills one, closes I-81

October 02, 1997


Staff Writer, Waynesboro

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - One man was killed and three people were injured in a collision involving a tractor-trailer rig and two other vehicles on Interstate 81 north of Martinsburg Thursday afternoon, according to West Virginia State Police.

Police had not released the names of any of the victims by late Thursday.

The accident occurred shortly before 5 p.m. in the northbound lane of I-81 at a construction site. The fiery wreck closed the highway for more than 2 1/2 hours, police said.

Sgt. J.D. Humphrey, the investigating officer, said the tractor-trailer driver failed to stop in time to avoid hitting a car as the traffic slowed to enter the construction area.


The passenger car in turn rammed into a pickup truck, causing it to roll over onto its roof and catch on fire. The driver of the pickup truck was pronounced dead at the scene, Humphrey said.

The woman who was driving the car suffered head injuries and was transferred to Washington County Hospital, Humphrey said.

She was in critical condition late Thursday, a nursing supervisor said.

One passenger in the car received minor injuries, according to Humphrey. He said he did not know the extent of the injuries sustained by the third person in the car.

The driver of the tractor-trailer was taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg. Details of his condition were not available Thursday night.

The accident occurred south of Exit 20 at Spring Mills Road. The left, northbound lane of I-81 was closed while crews were repairing a bridge surface.

The accident caused traffic to back up south of Exit 16, Humphrey said. Many vehicles detoured around the wreck, causing major tie-ups in the city of Martinsburg, W.Va.

Humphrey said that about an hour was allowed to flow temporarily on the interstate about an hour after the wreck. It was stopped several times during the cleanup, he said.

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