SMYTH COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) – A crash involving multiple tractor-trailers in Smyth County has closed the northbound lanes of Interstate 81 Tuesday and left three people injured.
According to the Virginia State Police (VSP), the crash occurred at 11:03 a.m. when a tractor-trailer in the Southbound lanes went off the left side of the road, crossed the median and entered the Northbound lanes. That vehicle then hit another tractor-trailer heading North.
The VSP reports the impact caused both tractor-trailers to catch fire, and debris from the crash reportedly hit the windshield of a third tractor-trailer.
The driver of the tractor-trailer that crossed the median into the northbound lanes was reportedly transported to the Bristol Regional Medical Center with serious injuries.
The VSP stated in a release that the other two drivers were transported to a nearby hospital to receive treatment for minor injuries.
One of the two vehicles involved in the initial crash was hauling paper, the VSP reports, and the other was hauling sawdust.
According to the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) traffic map, the crash occurred at mile marker 44.3. VDOT reported as of 4:25 p.m. that traffic was backed up roughly 8 miles, stretching from nearly before Chilhowie to nearly Marion.
Northbound traffic is being diverted off Exit 44 to US-11 North then back onto the interstate, VDOT reports. The northbound Exit 39 off ramp is closed, along with the southbound Exit 44 off ramp.
The VSP Motor Carrier Safety Team has responded to the scene to assist with the investigation.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.