A Deadly Night On I-81

Wreck Kills 2 Umpires

Posted: April 6, 2013

HARRISONBURG — Two baseball umpires returning from a game died in a single-vehicle rollover crash on Interstate 81 near New Market late Thursday.

Police say Stephen Flack, 63, was driving a 2004 Chevrolet Blazer south on I-81 about 10:30 p.m. when he lost control about a mile north of the New Market exit at mile marker 264.

Sgt. Les Tyler of the Virginia State Police said Flack went off the left side of the road, overcorrected and went off the right side.

The Blazer overturned and rolled down an embankment, police say.

Flack, of Harrisonburg, and his passenger, James Buracker, 50, of Luray, died at the scene of the crash, which remains under investigation.

It’s unclear if weather was a factor in the crash.

The crash occurred as temperatures dropped and sleet was falling in several areas of the Shenandoah Valley.

At 9:45 p.m., the Virginia Department of Transportation issued an alert warning motorists in the southern Shenandoah Valley to expect winter driving conditions. A winter weather advisory was in effect at the time of the crash.

The men were returning to Harrisonburg after officiating a baseball game in Strasburg, according to the Harrisonburg Umpire Association.

Flack was a well-known baseball coach in the Shenandoah Valley. During his coaching career, he made stops in Broadway and Spotswood high schools. He also coached at Chowan University, Eastern Mennonite University and the Staunton Braves in the Valley Baseball League.

Flack, along with his wife, Cookie Flack, also opened Downtown 56, the first restaurant in the renovated Wetsel Seed Co. warehouse in downtown Harrisonburg, which became the City Exchange building. Downtown 56, which opened in late 2006, closed in May 2009.

Buracker’s friends say he worked for Luray Parks and Recreation and had a passion for volunteering with Luray Little League.

Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or pdelea@dnronline.com

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