Wind gusts of 100 mph blow over two trucks on I-77

Allen Worrell

April 16, 2014

Estimated wind gusts of 100 miles per hour caused two tractor-trailers to overturn Tuesday on Interstate 77 North in Carroll County.

According to the Virginia State Police, both vehicles overturned near the 2.7 and 2.8 mile markers on I-77 North. The first was a 2005 Volvo tractor-trailer owned and operated by Darko Jankovic of Des Plaines, Illinois. Virginia State Police 1st Sgt. Mike Musser said Jankovic’s vehicle was very light, loaded with about 8,000 pounds of plastic bottles. It blew over against a guardrail at approximately 3 p.m.

That’s when things really got interesting, Musser said. Troopers from the Virginia State Police responded to the scene, along with a safety service patrol unit from the Virginia Department of Transportation. VDOT’s Safety Service Patrol was set up in the right lane with its arrow board to divert traffic.

Shortly after that, another tractor-trailer, owned by JNJ Express of Memphis, Tenn., overturned against the VDOT Safety Service Patrol truck.

“The VDOT worker was inside the truck, but he was not injured,” Musser said. “Both the driver of the tractor trailer and VDOT truck were uninjured. After it turned over and we got a grip on it, we were able to move the VDOT truck off to the side. A wrecker was in the process of hooking up to the JNJ truck when winds caught the trailer of the J&J truck and caused it to slide about 30 feet and strike the side of (a Virginia State Police) car.”

Estimated damages to the state police vehicle are about $1,500, Musser said. After the initial truck overturned at 3 p.m., the road was not re-opened until about 10 p.m. that night. No charges were filed as the incidents were all ruled as weather related.

“We estimated wind gusts at 100 miles per hour at the height of it,” Musser said. “It was just in that three-tenths-of-a-mile section of road from mile marker 2.7 to the 3 at the weather station where this occurred. We saw several other trucks that rocked over on their wheels, but didn’t turn over.”