Fatal Va. crash snarls I-95 traffic

January 09, 1992|By Frank D. Roylance | Frank D. Roylance,Evening Sun Staff

Five tractor-trailers piled into a stopped car and each other on Interstate 95 south of Washington today, killing a driver and stopping traffic for hours on the key artery.

Virginia State Police closed I-95 southbound until 10:30 a.m., when two lanes were reopened. Traffic was backed up for miles. One northbound lane was closed, creating havoc for commuters headed to work in Washington.

State Police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said Gragham Cole, 72, of Alexandria, Va., apparently had stopped his car at 5:30 a.m. in the right traffic lane just north of the Newington exit, 11 miles south of Washington. There is no shoulder on that stretch of I-95. He was outside his car, which had no lights on, when a truck struck him and his car.

Four other trucks then jackknifed and crashed into the wreckage and each other, blocking the four southbound lanes. Motorist warnings were posted as far north as the Capital Beltway in Maryland.

Cole was pronounced dead at the scene. One truck driver, Gregory Sieverding, 28, from St. Albans, Vt., was treated and released at a nearby hospital. The driver of the truck that struck Cole, Sammie Stewart, 61, of Kingstree, S.C., was not charged. "I don't know if we'll ever know why [Cole] was stopped," Caldwell said. "There is an emergency pull-off a quarter-mile beyond" the accident site.

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