Stuarts Draft man hospitalized after I-81 truck crash

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — UPDATE (4:50 p.m.):

A view from the VDOT traffic camera at MM 242.8 as of 1:58 p.m. on April 24, 2018

A crash involving a truck and a tractor trailer that briefly shut down the southbound lanes of Interstate 81 in Harrisonburg on Tuesday afternoon has been cleared and delays along the interstate are slowly clearing.

According to Virginia State Police, a truck traveling south in the right lane attempted to change lanes into the left lane around mile marker 243, but a tractor trailer was in the left lane there.

The truck collided with the tractor trailer, sending both vehicles into the median and knocking the truck on its side. Potatoes the truck had been carrying spilled throughout the median and interstate.

The driver of the truck, identified as 34-year-old Andrew L. Ocheltree, of Stuarts Draft, was ejected in the crash.

Ocheltree was taken to Sentara RMH and then transported to UVA Medical Center. No updates were available on his condition.

The driver of the tractor trailer was identified as 46-year-old Travis L. Cherry, of Charlotte, North Carolina. He was uninjured in the crash.

Trooper Sam Lamb is investigating the crash. The cause has not been determined yet and no charges have been filed at this point. Harrisonburg Fire and Rescue assisted VDOT in response to the scene.


UPDATE (3:18 p.m.):

The right lane of the southbound side of Interstate 81 is reopen at MM 243 following a crash involving a tractor trailer that temporarily closed all southbound lanes.

The left lane and left shoulder remain closed, and likely will for some time, as a small truck remains overturned in the median.

As of 3:15 p.m., delays from the scene stretched back at least five miles through the City of Harrisonburg into Rockingham County.


Drivers heading south on Interstate 81 through Harrisonburg should be prepared for major delays in the southern part of the city.

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation, all southbound lanes of the interstate are shut down at mile marker 243 due to a crash involving a tractor trailer. This is leading to delays of at least two miles, as of 1:55 p.m.

Traffic is getting by on the right shoulder, however.

The north left shoulder is closed as well, and traffic on the northbound side is moving very slowly past the scene.

A traffic camera at MM 242.8 shows a severe backup on both sides of the interstate around the crash scene, which appears to largely be in the median.

This is just past the Pleasant Valley Rd. overpass, before the Exit 243 entrance ramp on to the southbound side.

According to reports from the scene, a driver was ejected in the crash.

You can expect serious traffic congestion on Route 11 and Port Republic Road as a result of drivers leaving the interstate to look for alternate routes around the crash scene.

You can find up-to-date travel times and maps for I-81 here.