Two killed, two injured in three traffic crashes on 1-81 in Wyt

Two killed, two injured in three traffic crashes on 1-81 in Wythe County

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Photo credit: WSLS Photo credit: WSLS

Virginia State Police are investigating three separate crashes that happened Tuesday morning in Wythe County. Two people were killed and two others were injured in a series of traffic crashes on Interstate 81 near the 60 mile marker.

VSP troopers were called to the scene of an overturned tractor trailer on 1-81 around 3:23 a.m. The truck was loaded with laundry detergent and was traveling north on 1-81 when it ran off the side left side of the road.

The truck overturned on its side and came to a rest across the median and left southbound lane. Its driver, Phillip Emiabata, 53, of Pflugerville, Texas suffered minor injuries. He was taken to the Wythe County Community Hospital for treatment and he has been charged with reckless driving.

Moments after the first crash, a woman traveling south on 1-81 in a 2000 Lexus SUV struck the overturned tractor –trailer. The driver of the SUV, Tanya D. Mann, 56, of Zirconia, N.C., died on the way to the hospital.

Minutes after the second crash, another tractor-trailer carrying shrubbery was heading north on 1-81 when it struck a piece of guardrail in the roadway that had been damaged by the first crash. The impact caused the truck to run off the left side of the road and into the median. The tractor-trailer continued down the median and struck the edge of the interstate bridge and fell on the highway underneath the interstate and caught fire on Black Lick Road and Route 90. The driver of that tractor trailer James R. Anderson, 34, of Decherd, TN, died at the scene. His passenger, Jeremy W. Johnson, 36, of Tracy City, TN, was ejected from the sleeper cab. He was flown to Bristol Regional Medical center for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

The crash remains under investigation.

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