Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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July 7, 2011

Tractor-trailer crash halts travel along I-77 north

ROCKY GAP, Va. — Northbound lanes of Interstate 77 was closed seven hours Wednesday following a tractor-trailer accident near the South Gap area of Bland County.

According to a spokesperson with the Virginia State Police, a single-vehicle tractor-trailer accident occurred at an exit ramp at the 62.8 mile marker in the northbound lane around 8:50 a.m. Wednesday morning. The tractor trailer, which was carrying bread, traveled 50 feet over a guardrail into an embankment where it landed in a creek and caught fire, according to Trooper P.J. Deel with the Virginia State Police.

Deel said the Rocky Gap Volunteer Fire Department was called to the scene in order to put out the blaze.

“It was in an awkward place and was hard to get to,” Deel said. “Whenever they thought they had gotten the flames out, they would flare back up. It took them about an hour to put out the fire.”

Deel said the driver, a 65-year-old man from North Carolina, was transported to Bluefield Regional Medical Center with minor injuries.

Police closed the both northbound lanes of I-77 into the afternoon hours to extract the tractor-trailer and clear the accident scene. The state police rerouted traffic, which was backed up on the interstate for much of the day. The northbound lane was reopened around 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

Trooper P.J. Deel with the Virginia State Police is handling the investigation into the nature of the accident.


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