Two traffic fatalities occurred within about nine hours of each other in Warren and Shenandoah counties on Thursday night and early Friday morning.
Sgt. F.L. (Les) Tyler of the Virginia State Police identified the victims as Robert Bruce Bennett III, 71, of Franklin, West Virginia and Jonathan Wesley Showalter, 20, of Toms Brook. Tyler said Bennett died Thursday night and Bennett early Friday morning.
Bennett was westbound on Interstate 66 about 7 p.m. Thursday when his 1983 Chevy pickup truck hit a guardrail at mile marker 10.5, Tyler said. The truck came to a rest horizontally in the roadway and was struck in the passenger side by a 2018 Dodge van.
Bennett was taken to Winchester Medical Center via ambulance and was pronounced dead at 9:22 p.m., Tyler said. While Virginia state trooper R.D. Riggs investigated the wreck, westbound traffic lanes were closed until about 8:30 p.m. Neither of the van’s two occupants were injured, and no charges were filed.
About nine hours later, around 4:56 a.m., Showalter was southbound on Old Valley Pike about half-a-mile south of Funk Road in a 2001 Honda Civic, Tyler said.
He lost control of the vehicle, which ran off the road, flipped over, and came to rest on a nearby embankment, Tyler said. He was ejected through the windshield and pronounced dead on the scene. The wreck was investigated by Virginia state trooper N.J. Wakeman.
Tyler said neither of the incident reports indicated whether wind played a factor in the wrecks.