UPDATE: Crash shuts down I-81 in Wythe Co., 2 people killed - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

UPDATE: Crash shuts down I-81 in Wythe Co., 2 people killed

Posted: Updated:
WYTHE COUNTY, VA - 4:30 update: Right now, all northbound lanes of Interstate 81 are open but one southbound lane is still closed.

The driver of the second tractor-trailer has been identified. State Police say James R. Anderson, 34, from Decherd, TN, died at the crash site. His passenger, Jeremy W. Johnson, 36, from Tracy City, was flown to Bristol Regional Medical Center after being ejected from the sleeper cab. His injuries are believed to be life-threatening. Police are still trying to notify kin of the driver of the 2000 Lexus SUV who died on the way to the hospital.

10 a.m.
Police say one of the tractor-trailer drivers, Philip O. Emiabata, has been charged with reckless driving. His truck was carrying a load of laundry detergent north on I-81 when it ran off the left side of the road and overturned.  It ended up in the median and the left southbound lane of the Interstate. Emiabata, 53, of Pflugerville Texas, suffered minor injuries and was taken to Wythe Co. Community Hospital for treatment.

9:09 a.m.
One northbound lane is now reopen, both southbound lanes remain closed.

7:39 a.m.
Virginia State Police say two people have been killed an another seriously injured due to crashes on and near Interstate 81 in Wythe County.

Interstate 81 at mile marker 60 is closed in both directions.

According to a release from State Police spokesperson Corinne Geller, police were called to an overturned tractor trailer on I-81 near MM 60 at 3:23 a.m.

The driver was able to escape the tractor trailer moments before it was hit by a SUV traveling southbound on I-81.

The driver of the SUV died en-route to the hospital.

Moments later a second tractor trailer traveling north on I-81 ran off the left side of the road, struck a bridge and crashed below on Route 90. State Police say it caught fire immediately.  The driver of the tractor trailer was killed, and a passenger in the sleeping cab of the truck was ejected.

He was flown to a nearby hospital and is being treated for serious injuries. The names of the victims have not been released.

State Police on scene tell WSLS 10's Jade Hanson that the northbound lanes of I-81 could reopen in a couple of hours.

The southbound lanes are closed indefinitely.


7:08 a.m.

Virginia State Police confirm two people have been killed in a major crash at mile marker 60 on Interstate 81 in Wythe County.

The crash involved two tractor trailers and a SUV.

The driver of the SUV and one of the tractor trailers was killed.

A third tractor trailer was involved in a separate crash nearby.

This all happened around 3:15 a.m.

Traffic is being diverted off of I-81 at MM 60 and back onto to the interstate.

All lanes are closed in both directions.

State Police tell WSLS 10's Jade Hanson that the northbound lanes could reopen in a couple hours.

The southbound lanes are closed indefinitely. 


6:05 a.m.

I81 is still closed in both directions at mm 60 in Wythe County.  VDOT is reporting a 2 mile backup at this time.

State Police tell WSLS there were injuries in the accident, but are not commenting on specifics.

I81 is closed in both directions at mile marker 60.4 in Wythe County.
State Police say the interstate will be "closed indefinitely" as they work to clear a major accident involving three tractor trailers and an SUV.  It happened around 3:30 this morning.

There is a detour in place, traffic is being routed off of the interstate at the exit 60 ramp and right back on to I81.

WSLS has a crew on the way.
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