By Corinne N. Geller
Public Relations Director
Virginia State Police
Two troopers are recovering from minor injuries sustained in a crash on Interstate 81 Tuesday morning in Pulaski County.
At approximately 5:30 a.m., a tractor-trailer traveling north on I-81 became disabled and had to stop along the left shoulder and travel lane at the 96 mile marker. Virginia State Police Sr. Trooper R.W. Hughes stopped out behind the tractor-trailer for the safety of the tractor-trailer and northbound traffic. Sr. Trooper Hughes’ patrol vehicle had its emergency lights activated and was parked in the left lane behind the tractor-trailer.
Trooper W.L. Stumbo III, pulled in and parked his marked state police patrol car approximately 500 feet behind Hughes’ vehicle, so as to provide northbound traffic more advance warning of the lane closure. While parked in the left lane with its emergency lights activated, the state police 2013 Ford Taurus was struck by a northbound 2002 Chevrolet Silverado at about 6 a.m. The Silverado then struck a 2015 Kia Forte that was traveling north in the right lane.
Trooper Stumbo was seated in his patrol car at the time of impact. Stumbo was wearing a seat belt. Stumbo was transported to New River Valley Medical Center, and has been treated and released.
Sr. Trooper Hughes was outside his patrol car and on foot when the crash occurred and was forced to leap over the guardrail to avoid being struck by the vehicles. Hughes suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene.
The driver of the Silverado, Andrew B. Caldwell, 41, of Elk Creek, Va, was not injured in the crash. He was wearing a seat belt. Caldwell was charged with reckless driving.
The driver of the Kia, a 54-year-old woman from Alabama, was transported to Lewis Gale Hospital in Pulaski for treatment of minor injuries. She was wearing a seat belt.