The southbound lanes of Interstate 77 near the Virginia border were closed for several hours Wednesday morning following an accident involving two tractor-trailers.
According to the North Carolina Highway Patrol, a 2000 Kenworth tractor-trailer operated by Marjel Poka, 39, of East Hartford, Conn., was leaving a weigh station near mile marker 102 when it was struck from behind by a 2013 Kenworth tractor-trailer operated by Lee Richardson, 47, of Wingate.
The accident occurred shortly before 6 a.m.
Trooper Robert Ellison said the Poka truck was owned by Coast to Coast Transport, and was heading to Florida. The Richardson vehicle was owned by Federal Express and was pulling two trailers. Richardson was reportedly returning to Charlotte.
The Surry County Hazardous Material Response Team was called in to handle liquid that spilled onto the roadway as a result of the accident.
County Emergency Services Director John Shelton described the accident as “a bad one.”
“The rear truck ran through the cargo carrier of the front truck,” he said. “It took us between 45 minutes and an hour to free the driver (Richardson), who was pinned in the truck.”
Richardson was transported to Wake Forest Baptist Health for non-life-threatening injuries.
Wednesday afternoon he was reportedly having surgery to repair injuries sustained in the accident.
Richardson has been charged with failure to reduce speed, according to Ellison.
Keith Strange can be reached at 336-719-1929 or via Twitter @strangereporter.