Police and Fire React to I-81 Accident

By: Keith Jones Email
By: Keith Jones Email

Police say car accidents unfortunately happen everyday, but it's unique when one shuts down a major road or interstate like the fatal tractor trailer accident in Woodstock did Tuesday morning.

Three tractor trailers were involved with three people killed and two lanes of traffic on Interstate 81 closed. In the wake of the accident, thousands of cars had to be rerouted.

Police and fire officials set up two command centers: one along the interstate and the other at the Virginia Department of Transportation Office in Toms Brook.

I-81 Incident Commander Scott Gray says, "For the initial aspect, we were just mainly [focused] on safety. The traffic and the responders. We had to evacuate 42 individuals from several cars for about 700 feet north of the incident."

Shenandoah County Sheriff's deputies rerouted southbound traffic from the Toms Brook interchange to the Woodstock town interchange via route 11.

Shenandoah County Sheriff Tim Carter says, "This road was not built to handle this high a volume of traffic, and again, it's not a normal occurrence for people. People that live here have to deal with it periodically."

Carter says the incident command system worked well, even in coordination with the county school system.

"That decision was made early this morning to cancel schools and keep as less amount of traffic volume off the roads as much as we could keep off the roads," says Carter.

Police and fire officials say the portion of southbound I-81 will reopen when debris and hazardous materials are cleared.

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