Virginia State Police say three people were killed in a crash on Interstate 81 on Wednesday.

Three people were killed and at least four others injured in a crash that shut down Interstate 81 south of Harrisonburg for about seven hours on Wednesday.

A 2016 Volvo tractor-trailer was headed north at about 2 p.m. when it ran off the left side of the road, through the median and collided with southbound traffic at mile marker 239.3, according to the Virginia State Police.

The truck crashed into a 2013 Honda Civic and a 2012 Ford E-450 van, and its trailer struck a 2016 Freightliner tractor-trailer. The impact also caused a 2003 Honda Element to collide with the Ford.

State police did not release the names of the deceased pending family notification.

Killed in the crash were the drivers of the Volvo, Honda Civic, and the Ford van. All were described only as adult males in a state police press release, and all were wearing their seat belts.

A passenger in the Ford, a 32-year-old man, had serious injuries and was transported to Sentara RMH Medical Center. He was wearing a seat belt.

The driver of the Honda Element, a 21-year-old man from Stephens City, had minor injuries and was transported to Sentara RMH. He was wearing a seat belt.

A passenger in the Honda Element, a 21-year-old man, had minor injuries and was taken to Sentara RMH. He was wearing a seat belt.

The Freightliner’s driver, a 40-year-old man from Florence, N.J., had minor injuries and was taken to Sentara RMH. He was wearing a seat belt.

Staff at Sentara RMH reported treating six patients from the crash and described them all as being in stable condition.

The hospital set up a family assistance center for friends and family of people injured in the crash.

Both southbound lanes were closed while the crash was investigated and cleaned up.

The Virginia Department of Transportation reported that both lanes were reopened at 9:10 p.m.

The agency said backups reached up to 7 miles, and the crash pushed interstate traffic to U.S. 11 through Harrisonburg for the rest of the afternoon and into Wednesday night.

The crash remains under investigation by trooper C. White.

VSP was assisted at the scene by its Division 2 Accident Reconstruction Team, VSP’s Motor Carrier Team, Harrisonburg Fire and Rescue, Rockingham Fire and Rescue, VDOT and DBI.

(4) comments


Northbound just past the North River bridge the road takes a slight bend to the right and that is where the truck failed to jog and plowed into southbound traffic.

That curve desperately needs yellow "jog" signs after the bridge.


Of course, a medical issue or just plain lack of attention could have caused it but bushes in the median won't stop a tractor-trailer from crossing over and possibly obscured the view of the southbound drivers of impending danger. So tragic.


There should be a barrier between north and southbound traffic so these cross overs can't dangerous and nothing being done! I keep my eyes on the other side of the median whenever they come close to each other and there's nothing to stop an out of control vehicle from crossing!


One driver killed was returning home to NC after his mother just died Tues. at a Maryland nursing home.

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