Police seek witnesses to deadly crash

Published 10:18 pm Thursday, September 19, 2013

Suffolk police are seeking witnesses to Wednesday morning’s deadly eight-vehicle pileup in the 4700 block of Pruden Boulevard.

The investigation into the 7:14 a.m. crash is ongoing, city spokeswoman Diana Klink said Thursday.

The crash claimed the life of 48-year-old Thomas David Rush, of Virginia Beach, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Six other victims were taken to hospitals. Two were listed in fair condition as of Thursday afternoon, and the other four were treated and released.


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Anyone who witnessed the crash is requested to contact Officer T. Mason at 923-2350, extension 0.

Route 460 between Suffolk and Petersburg is notorious for its high concentration of tractor-trailers. The section in Suffolk has no median and a number of side roads with no traffic lights at the intersections.

Suffolk Police Chief Thomas Bennett said Wednesday that driver error, not the makeup of the road, is responsible for the majority of accidents.

“People have to drive properly,” he said. “The majority of accidents in this city and every city in this country is because of improper driving.”

He said the initial cause of Wednesday’s wreck — which he wouldn’t reveal until the investigation is completed, a process that could take several days — led to a “chain reaction” because of a number of cars in close proximity and traveling at high speeds.

The wreck was the second traffic fatality on Pruden Boulevard this year. The other deadly accident, on May 14, also involved a tractor-trailer.

The crash rate on the section of the road between Windsor and the Suffolk bypass is nearly twice the statewide rate for a divided, four-lane roadway like the toll road the Virginia Department of Transportation is trying to build to replace the current Route 460, according to VDOT data. The fatality rate also is higher than roads similar to the proposed toll road.

“This information clearly tells us that in addition to having a quicker trip between Hampton Roads and I-95, and in addition to having more capacity between Southside Hampton Roads and the I-95 corridor, we’ll save significantly on the number of crashes we have, and we’ll see measurable improvements in the fatality rate,” said Dwight Farmer, executive director of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission.