Interstate 66 closed in Fauquier County
Interstate 66 is closed -- totally closed, in both directions -- at the 22.5 mile marker, west of the Delaplane exit in Fauquier County, for a vehicle crash and fire.
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#1 Jan 9, 2010
This was a *horrible* accident. We happened to come upon the scene no more than a couple minutes after it happened. Traveling eastbound, I happened to see a bit of smoke rising over a hill on the horizon. I commented to my daughter who was driving that it looked like someone's house was on fire. As we took the next turn, I noticed a couple vehicles in front of us at the bottom of the incline were braking. I also noticed that the smoke was closer to the road and much darker. As we took the turn at the bottom of the hill and rounded the bend, we saw a large fire consuming two vehicles, a SUV and van, on the west-bound side of I-66. I told my daughter who was driving to slow because I thought we could help somehow. As we pulled parallel I quickly realized that the vehicles were entirely unapproachable and remarked that I had hoped everyone had time to escape. Then my daughter started crying and said there was a person in the driver seat of the SUV. Oh my! No words can describe the horror or our shock. It appeared that the driver of the SUV had no time to even attempt to exit the vehicle. It appeared that their arm was resting on the door frame as if they were relaxing on the side of the road. I am uncertain of anyone else who may have been in the vehicles but I saw no doors of either vehicle open and no one was around outside the vehicles, except for a few other cars which had stopped as we did. I have to assume that all travelers perished in the fiery wreck. With nothing to do except gawk, which would not have been beneficial to anyone, we left the scene just as VA state police were arriving--the first responders. As we travelled east bound, a number of emergency vehicles of all types, were speeding west-bound to the scene. A tragic event with horrible images that will remain with all of us who were at the scene...
#2 Jan 9, 2010
It doesnt suprise me. If the drivers arent going 90 mph, they are tailgating dangerously close. Just another example of people in a hurry to go nowhere.
#3 Jan 9, 2010
One observation that I made at the time about the accident scene was that if you could have taken away the fire inferno, the accident looked quite survivable---both vehicles had reasonably limited damage, especially the SUV. The front end of the van had more damage having impacted the guard rail system and its side panel had hit the back corner of the SUV resulting in what probably caused the gas tank to be punctured (this is only a conjecture on my part). Other than this all other parts of these vehicles seemed under-damaged for what was happening. I am not sure what the circumstances that led up to the crash that ended these person's lives, no one probably will, but undoubtedly some human error occurred which resulted in the horrible ending. I agree with you that driving in the Washington DC area is an exercise for the not-faint-of-heart. I have been driving here for many years now and I have come to realize how quickly an accident can *happen* with the mix of type-A personalities, young-and-agressive drivers (I am still pretty young myself), tourists, rural denizens, passers-thruers, and the never-ending flow of trucks that we have around here. One just has to take an extra measure of patience and exercise a little more caution.
#4 Jan 10, 2010
The guy in the van suffered a heart attack lost control and crossed over to the other side of 66. The suv driver survived. The van driver did not. He was a close friend.
#5 Jan 12, 2010
CJE---Very sorry to hear of the loss of your close friend. That was the only thought (Van crossing over I-66) of what could have happened. I am surprised to hear that the SUV driver survived because when we arrived, the driver of the SUV was engulfed in flames and looked very charred, although it must have only been a matter of couple minutes. Their survival is about the only good news that I can think of in the story of this terrible accident.
Much comfort in the loss of your friend!
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