Two truck crashes, one fatal, tie up Beltway traffic

December 5, 2012

Two violent truck crashes, one of them fatal, occurred within minutes of each other Tuesday afternoon on some of the busiest stretches of highway in the Washington region.

Both accidents occurred on or near the Capital Beltway in Fairfax County. In one, a truck on a flyover ramp spilled part of its load of debris onto the Beltway. In the fatal crash, a truck struck a work-zone vehicle and then hit a concrete Jersey barrier.

According to the Virginia State Police, the fatal crash occurred about 2:30 p.m. in the northbound lanes of the Beltway in the North Springfield area. A box truck did not stop in time to avoid what police called a work-zone safety vehicle that was stopped in the right-hand travel lane. The safety vehicle, described as a crash-cushion vehicle, was part of a continuing work zone.

After hitting the rear of the safety vehicle, the box truck driver lost control of his vehicle, ran off the road and hit the Jersey barrier. Police said the driver, Richard L. Edwards, 24, of Woodbridge, was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He had not been wearing a seat belt, police said.

The driver of the safety vehicle was not injured, police said.

The other crash, according to police, occurred five or 10 minutes earlier in the Springfield area, near one of the region’s major highway interchanges. Police said it happened on a ramp leading from the westbound lanes of Interstate 495 to the southbound HOV lanes of Interstate 95. A tractor-trailer ran off the left side of the road on the ramp and struck a concrete Jersey barrier there.

The trailer was carrying a load of trash that included a variety of construction and household materials. It had no top, and as the trailer turned over onto the wall, part of the load rained onto the westbound lanes of the Beltway below.

None of the debris was considered hazardous, but it accumulated on the westbound Beltway lanes to a depth of about a foot, the State Police said.

Police said the truck driver was not injured. They identified him as Hector Y. Lopez-Navarro, 41, of Woodbridge, and said he was charged with reckless driving.

The incidents occurred before the day’s heaviest commuter travel period but were blamed for substantial delays.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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