VSP identifies man killed in tanker fire on Interstate-81

Courtesy: Kane O'Neill

5:00 A.M UPDATE (WSLS 10) – Virginia State Police confirm the name of the man who was killed in a tanker crash Saturday on Interstate-81.

Jeffery Curtis Pritchard, 62 of Pulaski died in the crash. Curtis was driving a 2003 International tractor trailer. According to Virginia State Police, he was wearing his seat belt and died at the scene.

At 11:31 am on September 3, Pritchard was traveling south on Interstate 81 in the right lane, three tenths of a mile south of Route 8 in Montgomery County.  The tractor trailer lost control, ran off the left side of the roadway and overturned in the median.  The tractor trailer and its contents caught fire fully engulfing the tractor trailer.

The tractor trailer was hauling diesel fuel and was the only vehicle involved in the crash.

VDOT closed several lanes while the clean-up was conducted to evaluate the damage to the roadway.

The crash remains under investigation.

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY (WSLS 10) –  Virginia State Police are investigating a fatal crash. According to police, a tanker truck caught fire after crashing on Interstate-81 at mile marker 113.

Photo Courtesy of Billie Jean Hilton
Photo Courtesy of Billie Jean Hilton
Both north and south lanes are closed.
Photo Courtesy Billie Jean Hilton

Smoke can be seen for miles from the blaze. According to Virginia State Police, at 11:31 Saturday morning a tractor trailer was traveling south on Interstate 81 in the right lane, just south of the 114 exit when the driver lost control, ran off the right side of the roadway.  The vehicle attempted to correct, came back into the roadway and overturned in the median then caught fire said authorities.  The tractor trailer and the contents of the tanker caught fire fully engulfing the tractor trailer.

The truck was the only vehicle involved in the incident and the only injury was to the driver of the tractor trailer.

State Police are working at this time to identify the driver and more information will follow when the identity of the driver and notification have been made.

No word yet on a cause of the crash or if anyone has been injured.

According to VDOT, drivers can expect major delays due to the tractor trailer accident. Both north and south lanes are closed.Traffic backups are approximately 3.0 miles.

There is 3 miles of Southbound congestion at this time. Southbound traffic is being diverted off at Exit 114.

WSLS 10 will continue following this developing story.

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