Man, son die in I-81 crash near Stephens City

STEPHENS CITY – An Iowa man and his 12-year-old son died Saturday morning when a tractor trailer rear-ended their car on southbound Interstate 81 near exit 307.

Mikhail Shmaydiy, 46, and his son Timothy Shmaydiy died at the scene, according to a news release from Corinne N. Geller, public relations director for the Virginia State Police.

Carl Paris, 55, of Georgia, the driver of the tractor trailer that hit  Shmaydiy’s Mercedes Benz, has been charged with reckless driving, Geller stated. She noted that the crash happened around 6 a.m. while state police were investigating an earlier crash that had occurred a mile south near the interstate’s 306-mile marker.

The tractor trailer “crested a hill in the southbound lanes of I-81, it came upon slowed traffic due to the crash at the 306 mile marker. The tractor-trailer was unable to brake in time and rear-ended a 2013 Mercedes Benz. The impact of that crash sparked a chain reaction crash among three other vehicles in the southbound lanes. In the end, there were a total of five vehicles involved in the crash, to include the tractor-trailer,” Geller stated in the news release.

Paris and those in the other vehicles that crashed were not injured, but Geller stated that “a female passenger in the sleeper part of the (tractor trailer’s) cab at the time of the crash was injured and transported to Winchester Memorial Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.”

The earlier crash occurred around 5:30 a.m. Saturday when a minivan traveling south on I-81 ran off the right side of the road and hit a tractor trailer that had stopped in the right shoulder at the 306-mile marker.

“The driver of the minivan, Jennifer L. Cole, 39, of Woodstock, Va., was transported to Winchester Memorial Hospital for treatment of serious but non-life threatening injuries. She was wearing a seatbelt,” Geller stated.

Milen Pepelyankov, 34, of Chicago, Illinois, the driver of the stopped tractor trailer, was not injured.

“He was charged with improper stopping on a highway,” Geller stated, noting that the crash is still under investigation and that additional charges are pending.

Trooper S.R. Marks investigated the earlier crash, and Trooper J.T. Hutchinson investigated the 6 a.m. crash.