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Two killed after seven-vehicle crash on Interstate 81 in Pulaski County

'Chain-reaction' crash left two dead, traffic backed up overnight

Crash on Interstate 81 at mile marker 87.7 on Aug. 5, 2020, in Pulaski County has all northbound lanes closed.
Crash on Interstate 81 at mile marker 87.7 on Aug. 5, 2020, in Pulaski County has all northbound lanes closed. (VDOT)

PULASKI COUNTY, Va. – State police said two people are dead after a multi-vehicle crash on I-81 North near the Pulaski-Wythe County line on Wednesday evening.

Seven vehicles, including four tractor-trailers and three passenger vehicles, collided in what state police are calling a “chain-reaction” crash in the left lane of I-81 North near mile marker 87.5.

It happened around 5:15 p.m.

The driver of a GMC Yukon, David Swartz, 53, of Keller, TX., died at the scene, according to state police. They said two passengers from the Yukon were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

One of the tractor-trailer drivers, Jatinder Saini, 31, of Centreville, Va., also died at the scene.

Traffic backups as a result of the crash lasted until early Thursday morning. All lanes have since been reopened. At one point on Wednesday night, traffic was backed up about ten miles.

State police said charges are pending in connection with this crash and the investigation is ongoing.