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I-81 crash snarls traffic

July 22, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

MARTINSBURG, W.VA.

charlestown@herald-mail.com

Traffic was backed up for miles in both directions on Interstate 81 Thursday afternoon after a southbound pickup truck crossed the median near the Spring Mills exit and traveled into the northbound lane where it collided with a tractor-trailer, said a West Virginia State Police spokesman.

The tractor-trailer, which was carrying heavy equipment, went off the east side of the interstate and became wedged in some trees, said Trooper J.J. Bowman.

One of the northbound lanes was closed as of 7:30 p.m. Thursday and remained closed until about 10 p.m. to give workers time to remove the truck from the wooded area, Bowman said.

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As of 10:30 p.m., northbound traffic was moving slowly, according to a Berkeley County 911 dispatcher.

Three people injured in the crash are expected to survive, Bowman said. The crash, which was reported about 3:21 p.m., occurred about two miles south of the Spring Mills exit, Bowman said.

A Ford Ranger driven by Loretta Musacchio, 28, of Canterbury Drive, Martinsburg, was going south on the interstate when the truck began spinning while a light rain was falling, Bowman said.

Musacchio's pickup truck went into the median and into the northbound lane, where it collided with the tractor-trailer driven by James Rupley, 50, of Phil Campbell, Ala., Bowman said.

The pickup truck was destroyed.

Rupley and a dog traveling with him in the cab were trapped before escaping the wreckage. It appears the dog will survive the crash, Bowman said.

Musacchio and Rupley were being treated at City Hospital Thursday night. A condition on the two drivers was not available.

Musacchio's son, Jonathan, a passenger in the pickup truck, was treated at City Hospital and released, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The northbound and southbound lanes of I-81 were closed for about 11/2 hours while police investigated the wreck and rescue crews worked at the scene, Bowman said.

Shortly after the wreck, a car ran into the rear of a tractor-trailer in the southbound lane, Bowman said. The tractor-trailer was slowing down for the first accident when the car ran into the rear of the rig, Bowman said.

No serious injuries were reported from that crash, Bowman said.

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