UPDATE: 3 dead in fiery I-81 crash in Smyth County - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: 3 dead in fiery I-81 crash in Smyth County

SMYTH COUNTY (WVVA) - Three people are dead after fiery multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 81 between Marion and Wytheville.

According to State Police, a 2009 Chevrolet pickup truck and a GMC highway crash cushion truck were traveling together southbound on I-81 around 3 p.m. Wednesday when a tanker truck carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline -- also traveling southbound -- swerved then overturned, crashing into the other vehicles and exploded.

All three vehicles caught fire.

The driver of the tanker truck, Frank A. Skeens Jr., 48, of Castlewood, Va.,  and the driver of the pickup truck, Trevor Blankenship, 30, of Lebanon, Va., both died at the scene.

The driver of the crash cushion truck, Kenterrious L. Christian, 27, of Taylor, S.C., died en route to the hospital.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

I-81 was closed through the evening due to the intensity of the explosion and subsequent fire.


WYTHEVILLE (WVVA) - Both north and south bound lanes of Interstate 81 have been closed at mile marker 55 between Wytheville and Marion due to a tanker truck crash.

Virginia State Police responded to the scene around 2:57 p.m. One person has been airlifted from the scene to a nearby hospital.

Lanes of traffic in both directions have been closed due to thick smoke from the burning truck.

Traffic is being detoured.

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