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Valley family wants justice after hit-and-run on Port Republic Road

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 9:41 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The Harrisonburg Police Department is investigating a hit-and-run that left two vehicles totaled. Now, a Valley family is asking for the community’s help to find the driver.

It happened around 8:15 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 30 along Port Republic Road in Harrisonburg near the I-81 exits.

Brittany and Tom Bates were in the car with their three children and Brittany’s sister on their way to Christmas Town at Busch Gardens. It was supposed to be a fun day for the Bates family but turned into a nightmare when a tractor-trailer totaled their Honda Oddessy, as well as the Dodge Ram truck behind them.

The six passengers were stopped at a traffic light waiting to turn left onto I-81 South, but that’s when a truck driver getting off Exit 245 hit the two vehicles. Police say the truck driver kept driving, quickly getting onto I-81 North.

“When he hit us, the front left of the van was pushed down, the rear tires came off the pavement,” Brittany said. “He hit us so hard he pushed us really far back past the line where we were sitting. Pushed us into the pickup truck and the back windshield blew out.”

“He got right onto 81 North and took off,” Tom said.

The Bates said their kids were traumatized after the accident.

“It just shredded our vehicle. I don’t know how else to describe it,” Brittany said. “I thought we were gone for a minute there.”

Brittany said she has been recovering from major surgery and was finally feeling better, but this accident left her injured again, setting her recovery back several weeks.

The Bates said they hope the driver of the tractor-trailer has a change of heart and comes forward. Until then, they ask for help from the community and businesses along Port Republic Road to help identify the driver.

The Harrisonburg Police Department is investigating and you’re urged to contact them if you have any information.

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