I-81 incidents cause some traffic delays

Two separate multiple vehicle accidents on Interstate 81, near exit 28 in Shenandoah County, caused closures and delays Sunday evening.

State Police Sgt. F.L. “Les” Tyler said that officers were dispatched at 4:45 p.m. to an accident involving five vehicles on the northbound portion of the interstate.

Tyler noted that there were “two minor injuries” as a result of this incident and that the people were later transported to Shenandoah Valley Memorial Hospital in Woodstock.

“What happened was these vehicles came upon some slower traffic,” Tyler said, adding that a tractor-trailer traveling in the left lane “cut to the right” in response to the traffic.

Alexei Bizga, of Tacoma, Washington, was the driver of the tractor-trailer, Tyler noted. The cut to the right caused a chain of collisions, including four other vehicles traveling in that lane.

As a result of the lane change, the tractor-trailer then “struck a 2015 GMC U-Haul box truck,” Tyler explained, which then caused the U-Haul to strike a 2015 GMC pick-up in front of it.

“The U-Haul came to a stop up against the side of a 2014 tractor-trailer and the guardrail off the right side of the roadway,” Tyler added.

The accident resulted in the closure of both northbound lanes for almost an hour, noted Sandy Myers, spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation.

As crews and officers from the state, county and local towns worked to remove the vehicles, traffic south of Toms Brook on both I-81 and Route 11 was backed up for almost four hours.

Myers noted that both northbound lanes of I-81 were reopened “by 6:55 p.m.” However, the resulting congestion was not clear until about an hour after the lanes reopened.

“It takes a while for all of that to clear out. So even though you might have both lanes open, sometimes it can still take an hour or so for that area to clear out,” Myers added.

Although Myers said she did not have a report for Route 11, she said the traffic pattern “would probably echo what’s going on in 81.”

Tyler noted that State Trooper C.D. White, who investigated the first incident, “issued Mr. Bizga a summons for reckless driving” based on his investigation.

The second incident, according to Tyler, involved three vehicles, occurred near the first incident and resulted in “one minor injury.”

Tyler said that Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office and Shenandoah County Fire and Rescued also responded to the incident.

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com