In Berkeley Co., W.Va. reopened nearly 12 hours after crash


December 19, 2008

FALLING WATERS, W.Va. -- The southbound lanes of Interstate 81 in Berkeley County, W.Va., reopened at about 4 a.m. Friday, nearly 12 hours after an accident was reported.

An overturned tractor-trailer struck a passenger car head-on Thursday evening, entrapping the car's driver, who was flown to a shock trauma unit, the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department said in a news release.

The crash backed up traffic in both directions on I-81 long into the night. Traffic was using U.S. 11, U.S. 340 and U.S. 522 as alternate routes, deputies said.

The crash happened at about 5:49 p.m. near the Falling Waters/Marlowe exit, when a southbound box truck lost a front steering tire and wheel due to a mechanical failure, deputies said in a prepared release. 


The detached wheel and tire crossed the median strip into the northbound lanes, where they struck a northbound vehicle, causing minor damage, deputies said. A northbound tractor trailer then struck the wheel and tire, causing the truck to lose control, cross into the median, and overturn, deputies said. 

The overturned tractor trailer clipped the back of a southbound pickup truck, causing minor damage, then slid on its side into the southbound lanes, where it collided head-on with a passenger car, deputies said. The female driver of the car was trapped inside, deputies said.

After she was freed, that driver was taken to Washington County Hospital and later flown to a shock trauma unit, deputies said. A Berkeley County 911 dispatcher said inclement weather did not allow medevac helicopters to fly in initially.

Her passenger and the driver of the tractor-trailer were also taken to area hospitals with minor injuries, deputies said.

Interstate traffic returned to normal by 4:30 a.m., deputies said.

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