Crash halts traffic on I-81

Cody McKenzie, an employee of Trans Tech Towing in Broadway, walks around a paper bale at the scene of a crash on interstate 81 southbound one mile south of the Mount Jackson exit on Tuesday. The crash closed both southbound lanes and backed up traffic most of the afternoon and evening. Rich Cooley/Daily

A crash involving two tractor trailers on southbound Interstate 81 at mile marker 272 near Mount Jackson closed both lanes Tuesday.

The crash occurred at 11:30 a.m. when a tractor trailer carrying paper and driven by a 54-year-old man with a 26-year-old man in the passenger seat ran off the roadway to the left. Virginia State Police Sgt. Les Tyler said the driver over corrected and collided with a tractor trailer carrying general freight driven by a 58-year-old man in the right lane.

Tyler said both vehicles went off the right side of the roadway. The truck carrying paper overturned and blocked the right lane. The other truck went over the right embankment.

The 54-year-old driver was airlifted to University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville and the 26-year-old passenger was transported to Sentara RMH Medical Center in Harrisonburg, Tyler said. The 58-year-old driver was not injured. There names were not released.

At one point the traffic backup was approximately 5 miles long, and a detour was established off exit 273 to U.S. Route 11 to be rerouted back onto I-81 south at exit 269. All lanes were reopened by 3:55 p.m.

Firefighters walk down this embankment after a pair of tractor trailers collided on interstate 81 southbound one mile south of the Mount Jackson exit on Tuesday. Rich Cooley/Daily

The Virginia State Police was assisted by the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office, fire and rescue units from Shenandoah County and the Mount Jackson Police Department.

Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or hculvyhouse@nvdaily.com

Video by Rich Cooley/Daily

Work crews from Trans Tech Towing of Broadway load paper bales that were littered on the highway into a truck following the crash of a pair of tractor trailers on interstate 81 southbound one mile south of the Mount Jackson exit on Tuesday. Rich Cooley/Daily

Trans Tech Towing crews offload the remaining paper bales from one of the trailers at the scene of this pair of tractor trailers that collided on interstate 81 southbound one mile south of the Mount Jackson exit on Tuesday. Rich Cooley/Daily

A state trooper walks past the scene after a pair of tractor trailers collided on interstate 81 southbound one mile south of the Mount Jackson exit on Tuesday and both ran off the right side of the roadway and down and embankment, creating a traffic snarl for southbound traffic Tuesday afternoon and most of the evening. Rich Cooley/Daily