I-66 crashes send three to hospital

Two separate crashes near mile marker 11 on Interstate 66 sent three people to the hospital and caused traffic delays for more than three hours Thursday evening.

State Police Sgt. F.L. “Les” Tyler noted that the first crash occurred around 8:20 p.m. when a tractor-trailer traveling eastbound on I-66 lost control.

“The vehicle then went off into the median, struck a guardrail and then jackknifed in the median,” Tyler said.

The driver of the truck, Abu K. Streeter, 40, was transported to the hospital and, based on Trooper T.E. Jefferson’s investigation, has been charged with reckless driving, Tyler said.

Tyler said that the second crash, which happened shortly following the first, occurred when a tractor-trailer struck three vehicles that were stopped.

Two drivers from those vehicles — Austin D. Cucciardao, 20, of Strasburg, and Terry J. Shotwell, 44, of Manassas, were transported to the hospital.

In addition, a Linden Rescue Squad ambulance was struck during the second crash, causing a Linden firefighter to be sent to Warren Memorial Hospital.

Warren County Fire and Rescue Chief Richard Mabie said, “We sent him home last night. He has no real physical injuries, he was shaken up.”

Although they have not fully inspected the vehicle, Mabie estimated that the ambulance may have sustained between $10,000 and $15,000 in damages. He added that that figure could go up depending on the damage.

As a result of Thursday’s incident, Mabie said that they may look into the company’s response policy pertaining to interstate accidents.

“Normally, in a case like this, we would have used an engine to block the lane that we were operating in, just in case something like this happens,” Mabie said.

However, the engine that had been dispatched to the scene had not arrived by the time of the second crash.

“We feel that we did all that could be expected with the timing of the accident and … the amount of time that it took to get additional resources there,” he said.

The accidents also caused traffic delays along I-66 within a couple of miles of the scene.

Ken Slack, Virginia Department of Transportation spokesman, stated in an email that traffic back-ups went as far back as 2 miles.

“There were a couple of occasions when both westbound lanes were shut down due to emergency operations,” Slack said. “A single lane was kept open whenever possible.”

All traffic lanes of I-66 were cleared by 11:30 p.m., according to Tyler.

Tyler noted that no charges have been filed in the second incident and that it is still under investigation by State Police.

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