Hampton Roads has a number of bridge-tunnels. Few are as dangerous for big rigs as the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel during storms. An incident on Friday evening which saw a tractor-trailer crash off the side of the span highlights Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel storm dangers. One body was found in the tractor-trailer and there are concerns a second person may have died.
We were saddened to read about this incident which is just the latest case of a high sided vehicle going off the CBBT between Northampton County and Virginia Beach.
A report on WAVY.com revealed divers from Crofton Diving located the tractor-trailer that went off the side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel during a severe storm on Friday.
The TV station reported divers entered the water to start the search around 6:30 Saturday morning. Coast Guard officials said at least one body was found inside the big rig. Recovery of the tractor-trailer was underway on Saturday.
Our thoughts are with those who lost their lives in this crash. Reports later Sunday suggested the body was not that of the driver, suggesting a passenger perished. Driving a tractor-trailer is a dangerous undertaking. Few places are as hazardous as the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel during bad weather. The latest tragedy highlights Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel storm dangers.
No information was available about the tractor-trailer on Saturday afternoon, officials stated.
The crash was reported close to near mile marker 12 on the western side of the bridge-tunnel’s southbound span on the Eastern Shore side, CBBT police said. An emergency call came in at 6:46 p.m., according to dispatchers.
WAVY reported a van carrying five passengers was also involved in the crash with the tractor-trailer. Five people were treated for injuries at the accident scene. Media reports suggest they were not hospitalized.
The crash took place as a severe storm swept over the CBBT. The storm was reportedly directly overhead at the time the truck crash off the bridge-tunnel, suggesting a powerful wind may have caught hold of it.
Multiple emergency units including the U.S. Coast Guard, Virginia Beach police, and the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office helped in the search for the tractor-trailer.
A report in the Virginian-Pilot revealed the truck and trailer were recovered from 20-25 feet of water when the tide receded at about 2 p.m. on Saturday. Teams were unable to remove the body from the tractor-trailer at that time, but a body was recovered later.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Ronald Hodges said officials believe a second person may have died in the crash. Search efforts to find a second body were ongoing.
Officials later said they may have identified the truck driver based on E-Z pass records and witness statements.
This is not the first crash in recent years to claim the life of a trucker. In February 2017, a 47-year-old man died when his truck crashed over the side of the bridge and went into the water. Although the trucker was alive when he was pulled out of the water, he died en route to a local hospital.
That accident also occurred in high winds and illustrated Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel storm dangers. An hour before Friday’s crash, bridge officials cut speed limits for all vehicles to 35 mph, down from 55 mph.
This accident raises many alarming questions. Our thoughts are with the family of the trucker who died. If you or a loved one has been involved in a crash on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, please call our experienced Eastern Shore of Virginia accident lawyers at (757) 455-0077.