Fiery Wreck on I-81 Claims Life of Trucker

Interstate 81 is one of Virginia’s busiest trucking routes. It’s also the scene of some horrendous accidents involving tractor-trailers. A wreck on I-81 over the weekend claimed the life of a trucker after it caused a fiery wreck.

The pictures from this scene were terrifying. A fuel truck overturned around 11:30 a.m. on Saturday near  mile marker 114 near Christiansburg. There were three explosions and homes nearby shook.

Tragically, the driver Jeffery Pritchard, 62, of Pulaski, was killed in the fiery wreck. Other drivers had a lucky escape from the inferno.

fuel tanker crashed on I-18, killing the driver

Fuel tankers are among the most dangerous vehicles on the roads

The cause of this wreck is unclear although the news station WDBJ 7 reported the comments of witnesses who heard a tire blow.

The tractor-trailer was hauling diesel fuel on the interstate and was the only vehicle involved in the crash. The interstate was closed down for as long as three hours while the crash was cleaned up.

My thoughts are with the family of the trucker who died in this horrific wreck.

Every year we see serious wrecks on I-81 that involve big rigs. In 2014, two people were killed in related wrecks on I-81 in western Virginia.

In some cases, these wrecks are caused by tired and reckless truckers. This interstate is a key north-to-south route for big rigs. Often truckers drive long hours. When you are behind the wheel of a big rig, one small mistake can be deadly.

Some trucks suffer from niggling maintenance issues. It’s not clear if a tire failed in this case but the failure to maintain a big rig can be the fault of a trucking company. The families of those who lose their lives in a wreck caused by a badly-maintained or defective tire may have grounds to sue a trucking company or even a tire manufacturer.

Truck drivers are subjected to numerous federal regulations set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

The hours of service regulations, for example, are meant to prevent wrecks linked to fatigue. Many trucking companies fail to abide by them and there are ongoing questions about their adequacy. If you have been injured in a trucking wreck or lost a loved one, do not hesitate to contact our Virginia trucking wreck injury team at (757) 455-0077. We represent victims of trucking crashes across Virginia.

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