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Truck Driver Dies After Rig Crashes off Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel During High Winds

I pride myself in helping clients through their toughest times.- Bill O’Mara

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Truck Driver Dies After Rig Crashes off Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel During High Winds

The death of a truck driver whose rig was blown off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel on Thursday has again highlighted the dangers of the 23-mile span.

Joseph Chen, 47, of Greenville, N.C., died as he was transported to the hospital after being rescued by a U.S. Navy helicopter, the Virginian-Pilot reported.

His tractor-trailer went off the southbound part of the bridge during windy weather shortly before 12:30 p.m. near the Eastern Shore section of the bridge-tunnel.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel crosses the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and is an exposed place which has a bad record for trucks going into the water.

According to Virginian-Pilot archives 10 vehicles – seven of them trucks and three cars – went over the side of the bridge-tunnel between 1964 and 2011. Only one person survived.

Last year, a truck driver from Wachapreague on the Eastern Shore crashed off the bridge-tunnel when he was trying to pass a slower vehicle. He survived the ordeal.

In 2014, a driver drowned closed to the CBBT after his truck collided with a maintenance vehicle, jackknifed and ran off the bridge.

Our thoughts are with the family of Mr. Chen. High winds are believed to be a factor in the latest tragedy.

Officials declared a Level 1 wind advisory shortly before the crash, with winds over 40 mph.

At Level 1, camper trailers and other towed cargo are not allowed to cross the bridge-tunnel.

Thirty minutes after the crash, bridge restrictions were increased to Level 2, as winds reached speeds of over 47 mph. To cross during a Level 2, trucks must be loaded with more than 30,000 pounds of cargo.

A report on spoke to Charles Lattimore, a trucker from Chesapeake, who said he cleared to cross before he learned of the crash on the radio, along with 30 other truckers. He was driving to Norfolk, but pulled over a mile north of the bridge-tunnel. He was concerned his truck would be too light.

Truckers do a dangerous job. A recent survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found trucking to be the eighth most dangerous profession in America.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a wreck involving a truck, we would like to hear from you. We represent people on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and in Hampton Roads. Please contact our Virginia trucking accident lawyers at (757) 455-0077.

Bill O'Mara


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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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