Woman dies in I-81 crash

A Burke woman died in a six-vehicle pile up on Interstate 81 in Shenandoah County on Thursday afternoon.

The crash at 4:45 p.m. at mile marker 283 came as traffic had begun to slow in the northbound lane. Two other people were injured.

Sgt. F.L. (Les) Tyler of the Virginia State Police identified the crash victim as Nora Grace Johnson, 84. Tyler said Johnson, who died at the scene from crash injuries, was a passenger in a 2010 Toyota Prius that was struck in the rear by a 2001 Dodge pickup truck driven by Robert W. Jenkins, 35, of Winchester.

The Prius was driven by Rebecca Lynn Kerns, 58, of Fairfax. Tyler said Kerns was flown by helicopter to Inova Fairfax Hospital. Jenkins was uninjured.

The crash involving the Jenkins and Kerns vehicles set off a chain reaction in which the Prius was pushed into a 2006 Volkswagen Jetta, which struck the rear of 2012 Ford F150 pickup truck. The pickup truck was then pushed into a 2011 Buick SUV, which collided with a 2005 Chevrolet SUV in the right lane.

Tyler said an occupant of the Volkswagen Jetta, Larrisa Lynn Smith, 39, of Ashburn, was the only other injury. She was taken to Shenandoah Memorial Hospital.

State trooper A. Galton and a state police crash reconstruction team investigated the incident, Tyler said. Tyler said the investigation led to Jenkins being charged with reckless driving.

The crash closed the northbound lanes of I-81 for more than two hours. The Virginia Department of Transportation reported traffic backed up for more than seven miles.

“The lanes started to open at 7:30 p.m., probably closer to 7 p.m.,” Tyler said.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com