Monday crashes halt interstate traffic

A Woodstock ambulance travels to the scene of an Interstate 81 crash located south of the 296 Strasburg exit Monday afternoon. Another crash occurred near the 296 exit north in the median beside the fire apparatus at the top of the photo. Rich Cooley/Daily

A series of crashes impeded traffic Monday afternoon on north and southbound lanes of Interstate 81, according to Sgt. F.L. “Les” Tyler, public information officer for the Virginia State Police.

“It appears that we had a crash that first occurred around northbound 81 at the 296 exit,” Tyler said. “That involved two vehicles – no injuries involved, however it was blocking the left lane. That was investigated by Trooper J.T. Custer.”

Tyler said that the backup resulting from the first crash created a series of subsequent crashes.

“In the backup, we then had a four-car crash that occurred at the 295.7 (mile marker) northbound,” he said. “That involved a 2005 GMC van being operated by a John L. Peck, 51, of Winchester. He was northbound in the right lane when he struck the rear of a 2015 Honda SUV that was being operated by a Sudha R. Venkataraman, age 53, from Bristol, Tennessee. That person was not injured; however the passenger in the vehicle, 24-year-old female Karthik V. Venkataraman, was injured and transported (to Winchester Medical Center).”

The chain reaction continued after that crash.

“After that impact, the Honda then struck a Jeep Cherokee that was ahead of it,” Tyler said. “That was being operated by a Lorraine Shelton, age 71, from Winchester. She was not injured. After that impact, the Jeep Cherokee then strikes a 2000 Dodge Neon that was in the left lane. That was being driven by a Travis Tackett, from Mount Jackson, age 28. He was uninjured in the crash and also there was a passenger in the Neon, Tara C. Papion, age 35, town unknown. She was transported to Winchester Medical Center.”

Tyler said those crashes were investigated by Trooper A. Galton. Tyler said Galton indicated that the injuries were non-life threatening.

Tyler also said that the crash caused a minor collision in the southbound lanes of the interstate.

“Then people were looking to see what was going on on the northbound side and we had another rear end accident on the southbound side,” he said. “It was investigated by D.W. Burkeholder. He placed charges as a result of the crash. Driver information was unknown.”

Tyler said that from the time of the crash, the interstate was backed up for roughly an hour.

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com.