Tractor-Trailer Driver Dead After Explosion

By: Venton Blandin
By: Venton Blandin

The driver of a tractor-trailer is dead after the tanker he was driving crashed on Interstate 64 near the Crozet exit. Traffic was backed up for miles as both east and west bound lanes of I-64 were closed for hours.

It happened around 7 o'clock Thursday evening on February 10th, 2005. Officials say, a tractor-trailer crashed into the wooded median strip just east of Crozet near mile marker 108 on westbound Interstate 64. The truck then caught fire that caused an explosion with the driver still inside. The sergeant in charge of the investigation told reporters that the driver was probably killed instantly.

Sergeant Gregory Miller with the Virginia State Police Department said, "It appears that we have a tractor-trailer single vehicle accident on westbound I-64. The trailer did not leave any skid marks on the road. It left the road going into the median striking a tree, and then ensued into flames with a small to medium explosion."

According to Virginia State Police, since there were no skid marks leading up to the accident, it may be possible that the driver could have fallen asleep at the wheel.

There were no chemicals on board the tanker; the Virginia State Police says the small explosion may have come from the fuel tanks. Eastbound and westbound traffic on I-64 were closed for hours as crews cleared the area.

"It's going on two hours being stuck here. It's been a long time. I've been on the road since 5:00 a.m. trying to get home to my family who I have not seen in six weeks", said Debbie Bolton, a motorist heading to Rockville, Virginia.

Fawzia Bhavnagri, a motorist heading to Virginia Beach, said "I just saw a bunch of lights, and then flames with smoke. Everyone started braking, and then we saw lots of police, ambulances, and fire trucks."

The westbound lane of Interstate 64 was opened to traffic around 9:30pm. Authorities have not released the driver's name, and Virginia State Police are still investigating the accident.

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