UPDATE: Man Injured In Thursday Night Wreck Dies
UPDATE: The Virginia State Police said today that a passenger in a Ford Expedition struck by a tractor-trailer on Interstate 81 on Thursday night has died of his injuries.
Rigoberto Tanco, 40, of Monticello, N.Y., had been transported to the University of Virginia Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. He died on Saturday, according to the VSP.
The chain-reaction crash south of Weyers Cave also claimed the life of the Expedition’s driver, Daniel R. Manso Jr., 51, of the Bronx, N.Y. Manso was pronounced dead at the scene.
By KAITLIN MAYHEW
HARRISONBURG — A late-night crash Thursday on Interstate 81 just south of Weyers Cave left one man dead, two injured and a Harrisonburg man in jail.
Virginia State Police responded to the crash, which kept at least one lane of I-81 at mile marker 234 closed about seven hours, at 10:41 p.m.
According to state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller, a 1994 Dodge pickup was traveling northbound when it ran off the road to the left and overturned in the median.
Geller said on Monday that a miscommunication initially led police to believe that the driver of the Dodge pickup, Samuel J. Russo Jr., 46, fled the scene of the crash. In fact, Geller said, Russo left the scene only after being checked out and cleared by paramedics.
Police met up with Russo in Harrisonburg on Friday morning and cited him with reckless driving.
Moments after Russo’s vehicle crashed, Geller said, a Ford Expedition also traveling north swerved to avoid the wreckage, causing the driver to lose control and careen into the neighboring lanes. A tractor-trailer then struck the Expedition.
Daniel R. Manso Jr., 51, of New York, the driver of the SUV, was pronounced dead at the scene, Geller said. His passenger, Rigoberto Tanco, 40, of Monticello, N.Y., was transported to the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville with life-threatening injuries.
Geronimo P. Manning, 34, of North Carolina, the driver of the tractor-trailer, was transported to Augusta Health in Fishersville for treatment of minor injuries, Geller said.
Both the northbound and southbound lanes of I-81 were closed for several hours as a result of the wreck. Police reported the scene was clear by 6:30 a.m. The Virginia Department of Transportation reported backups as long as two miles at times.
In addition to state troopers, who are investigating the crash, emergency crews from Grottoes, Weyers Cave and Augusta County Fire and Rescue were among those responding to the scene.
The crash occurred as temperatures dropped and rain that had begun falling earlier in the evening turned to sleet around the Valley. Heavy patches of fog also were reported at the time, but police did not cite weather as a factor in the wreck.