Senior Driver Charged in I-81 Crash

A tractor trailer ran off of Interstate 81 in Harrisonburg Friday and hit a dorm on the James Madison University campus.

Police say the truck was traveling south on the interstate near mile marker 245. It was in the left lane when a 2002 Lincoln in the right lane moved into the left and hit the front of the truck.

Both the truck and the car crossed the median and the northbound lanes. The Lincoln hit a 1998 Buick driven by 54-year-old David Walker of Houston, Texas. Walker was uninjured.

After crossing the northbound lanes, the semi drove into Rockingham Hall and the Lincoln ran off the road.

"Oh I thought it was us. When I saw him go over, all I did was just hold on, pull over to the middle. And I was thinking he was just going to jackknife and fall right on top of us," says Bernice Bossler, who was traveling north on I-81 at the time of the crash.

The driver of the semi, 52-year-old James Melton of Wytheville, Virginia, had to be extricated from the cab of his truck. Rockingham Hall was unoccupied at the time of the crash.

Melton suffered serious injuries and was initially taken to Rockingham Memorial Hospital.

The driver of the Lincoln, 79-year-old John Wodecki of Centereach, New York, has been charged with reckless driving. He suffered minor injuries.

Motorists dealt with back-ups as long as seven miles for part of the afternoon.


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