UPDATE: Three Killed in Fiery Tanker Truck Crash on I-81 - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

UPDATE: Three Killed in Fiery Tanker Truck Crash on I-81 in Smyth County

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Courtesy: WCYB Courtesy: WCYB

Update 10/3/13

According to VDOT, the right lane closures on I-81 south in Smyth County near Exit 54 were lifted around 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

That means everything is clear in that area tonight, but we're told crews will reassess in the morning about new lane closures Friday.

State Police have also released the identities of the three men killed: Frank Skeens Jr., 48, of Castlewood; Trevor Blankenship, 30, of Lebanon; and Kenterrious Christian, 27, of Taylor, S.C.

According to police, a tanker truck loaded with 8,500 gallons of gasoline was traveling in the left southbound lane when, according to witnesses, the truck swerved and then overcorrected. The tanker's load shifted and the truck overturned onto its side across both southbound lanes. The tanker truck slid into a pickup truck, exploded, and then collided with a crash cushion truck. All three vehicles caught fire.

Skeens, the tanker truck driver, and Blankenship, the pickup truck driver, both died at the scene. Christian, the crash cushion truck driver, died on the way to the hospital.


Three people are dead after a tractor trailer accident in Smyth County.

State Police say the truck hit the back of a moving road block, ran into a pickup truck, and burst into flames.

The driver of the tanker was killed in the crash, along with one person in the pickup truck and another person in the rolling roadblock.

Because of the fire and smoke, the road was shut down in both directions.

The northbound lanes have since reopened, but the southbound stretch is still closed. Traffic is being detoured off the road.

VDOT says they will have to re-pave the section of I-81 one lane at a time. No word on how long the road will be closed.

The crash is still under investigation.