California tractor-trailer driver dead after crashing in Wythe County on Saturday

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WYTHE COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — A tractor-trailer driver from California is dead after crashing into an Appomattox County driver and overturning in Wythe County Saturday afternoon.

Virginia State Police say they responded to a crash on I-81 North — about half a mile south of Ready Mix Road — shortly before 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, July 31.

According to police, a 2021 Freightliner Cascadia tractor-trailer was traveling north in the middle lane when it tried to move into the left lane, striking a 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe, which then ran off the left side of the road and into the median.

After hitting the Tahoe, the tractor-trailer ran off the left side of the road, traveled through the median, struck the guardrail, continued into the southbound lanes, swerved back into the guardrail and median, and overturned.

The tractor-trailer’s driver — identified by authorities as 43-year-old Willis M. Peters Jr. of San Bernardino, Calif. — was wearing a seatbelt, but died at the scene of the crash.

However, officials say the driver of the Tahoe — 34-year-old Mary L. Oriley of Appomattox — was also wearing her seatbelt and was not hurt in the crash.

As of this writing, Virginia State Police say the investigation into this fatal crash is still ongoing.

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