Driver dies in fiery crash after chase

Published 9:36 am Tuesday, February 24, 2015

UPDATED 2:50 p.m.: Suffolk police say the portion of the roadway that was closed reopened at 1:34 p.m.

UPDATED 12:33 p.m.: Virginia State Police say the driver who died in a fiery crash after a chase that started in Sussex County had been going more than 30 miles per hour over the speed limit when they attempted to stop him.

At about 8:23 a.m. Tuesday, a trooper attempted to stop the vehicle on Route 460 in Sussex County for going 76 mph in a 45 mph zone, according to a press release from spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

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The trooper activated his lights to initiate a traffic stop. However, the vehicle accelerated and, continuing eastbound on Route 460, came through another trooper’s radar at 105 mph in a 55 mph zone.

Both troopers then pulled behind the speeding vehicle, but the driver still refused to stop, according to the press release.

The vehicle continued eastbound on Route 58 in Suffolk. A third trooper attempted to block and slow the suspect vehicle down, but the vehicle sideswiped the trooper’s marked patrol car. The trooper slowed due to traffic and positioned himself on the right shoulder.

The vehicle continued around traffic, came across the lanes and struck the trooper again, according to Geller. The impact and the high rate of speed caused the driver to lose control, and the vehicle ran off the right side of the road, struck a tree and caught fire.

Troopers attempted to put out the fire, but the suspect died at the scene, Geller said.

The driver’s remains will be transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Norfolk for positive identification, examination and autopsy.

It is an ongoing investigation, and the Virginia State Police Chesapeake Division Crash Reconstruction Team is assisting with the investigation.

UPDATED 10:15 a.m.: One lane has been opened for eastbound traffic on Portsmouth Boulevard. However, to help improve traffic flow, motorists will continue to be detoured from Portsmouth Boulevard to Nansemond Parkway to Wilroy Road.

Earlier: All three lanes of Route 58 eastbound near the weigh scales have been closed for an accident investigation, city officials say.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue personnel are on the scene of the single-vehicle crash, which was reported at 8:33 a.m.

The eastbound lanes have been closed for cleanup and the investigation, according to Suffolk spokesperson Diana Klink.

Detours and warning signs had not yet been set in place at 9:15 a.m., and traffic in that area is at a standstill.

Motorists should use alternate routes until advised otherwise.