Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Authorities identify man killed in I-81 wreck

The Roanoke Times

Virginia State Police report that the driver of a cargo van was killed this morning at a rest stop on I-81 southbound near mile marker 158.

The van, a 2000 Ford E-150, left the interstate around 75 to 80 mph and ran into the back of a parked tractor-trailer at the rest area, police said. The driver, Donald Weeks, 60, of Roanoke, was killed. No other passengers were in the van and no other injuries were reported.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, James Cash, 51, from Winston-Salem, N.C., said he had stopped his truck to use the rest area and went to the passenger door to get a bag. Cash said he saw the van coming down the rest area ramp and didn't see it brake or slow down.

"I was stunned and didn't know what to do except jump out of the way," Cash said. "I thought he was going to get me."

The force of the impact pushed the van underneath the tractor-trailer. Two wreckers were used to lift the tractor-trailer and remove the van, according to Scott Paderick, assistant chief of Troutville Fire and Rescue.

Police said the rest area will be reopened once the accident scene is cleared.

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