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August 1, 2017

Car slams into rig hauling logs during rush in Opal

Photo/Warrenton Volunteer Fire Department
Firefighters and medics work to free the 31-year-old driver from a Volkswagen Jetta that slammed into a tractor-trailer Tuesday morning in Opal.
Another horrific traffic accident took place in Opal during Tuesday morning’s rush.

At 7:06 a.m., a northbound Volkswagen Jetta slammed into the rear of a tractor trailer hauling logs, according to the Fauquier sheriff’s office.

It took first responders 19 minutes to cut free the car’s driver, a 31-year-old Gainesville woman, from the wreckage.

A medical helicopter flew her to Inova Fairfax Hospital for treatment of “non-life-threatening” injuries, Warrenton Assistant Fire Chief Sam Myers said.

The sheriff’s office closed the busy highway for approximately 45 minutes.

Traveling in the right, northbound lane, the tractor-trailer had just pulled out of the Opal truck stop, according to the sheriff’s office.

The accident remains under investigation.

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Observer · August 3, 2017 at 5:30 am
Try to do speed limit on 29, they will run you over. 6AM on workday @ 75 miles an hour and you get passed, flashed from behind and honked at.
Silii · August 2, 2017 at 4:42 pm
Regardless of the cause of this accident, the intersection of 29 and 17 is simply awful and dangerous. I can't count the times I've been cut off by people "merging" onto 29N off the 17N exit. "Merge" simply isn't in their driving vocabulary; squeeze in by cutting someone off is the mode du jour there. And, please don't tell me to slow down or to get left to allow these people from 17N to "merge". It isn't always possible to swerve into the left lane while being cut off and I do try to slow down at this intersection because there are so many oblivious morons bully driving. By the way, when I slow down to the speed limit or slower depending on conditions and heaviness of traffic, I inevitably get tailgated. One final comment. It is not uncommon to have tractor trailers pull out of the BBQ/truckers lot and sit broadside blocking both northbound lanes of 29 waiting to turn onto 29S. I've actually been in backups because of trucks blocking northbound 29 traffic lanes.
citizen observer · August 2, 2017 at 8:44 am
It isn't just automobiles speeding on 29 and 17, tractor trailers do all the time. They use it as an interstate highway. Yet you never see a truck pulled over for speeding or running red lights. Always makes me wonder why. I guess the Teamsters have good political connections.

Bottom line is getting in a vehicle on a road is once again becoming a hazardous undertaking.
bblimber · August 1, 2017 at 6:02 pm
For the last few months I've had a job working in Culpeper. When I have occasion to drive through this area in the morning, I'm astounded that the vast majority of drivers don't obey the posted 45 MPH. This speed limit is not unreasonable given the number of ingress/egress points. Larger signs with the addition of a sign below stating "Vigorously Enforced" may help. And then run radar regularly. I would have no sympathy for those ticketed here.
4Virginia · August 1, 2017 at 2:51 pm
Wow people....Unless you were there, no one knows what caused this accident .. I've seen inattentive drivers, people pulling out at the last minute, tailgaters, slow moving vehicles--you name it --contribute to an accident. Let the police do their job & establish fault or unavoidable accident . Blaming the truck driver or the car driver achieves nothing. Both victims of this accident need prayers & support to deal with the health, damage, insurance issues that will be coming at them. I hope for full recoveries & no lasting injuries---emotional or physical.
Bonnie C. · August 1, 2017 at 2:48 pm
If you respect & COMPLY with the posted "REDUCE SPEED" limit signs while approaching this intersection, there should be no need for you to have to "slam on your brakes", regardless of any tractor-trailers pulling out.

Yes, car accidents are frequently tragic. However, very, very few of them are not caused by driver error. Far too many people these days are complacent of the fact that vehicles are weapons if not handled correctly & with caution.
ConcernedMom · August 1, 2017 at 2:40 pm
I'm astounded by the comment out of Bonnie. Have you ever lost someone from a car accident? If you dont care then DON'T comment. You just made yourself be a perfect example of ignorant!
My prayers go with all of those involved. I personally travel this road every day and have had SEVERAL tractor trailers pull out last minute. I've had to slam on my brakes to AVOID hitting them. However, sometimes it's hard to react when things happen so fast and everyone on 29 LOVES to tailgate.
I had a truck driver tail gate me then he flew around me and almost rear ended the car beside me and then proceeded to cut me off and almost hit my truck. Maybe we need DOT to monitor more areas as well.
Bonnie C. · August 1, 2017 at 2:24 pm
Antigone - give it a rest. The fault here lies clearly on the driver, & frankly I have absolutely no sympathy for her whatsoever or whether or not she survived the crash. She just as easily could have slammed into another auto instead of a tractor-trailer & killed someone.

Frankly, the "work" needed has nothing to do with IIHS & more to do with the regular every-day morons travelling our roads in regular autos while texting, talking on the phone, or consuming food/beverages while driving. I strongly look forward to police pulling over & ticketing anyone/everyone involved in these distractions while driving. Can't wait!!!
rally39 · August 1, 2017 at 1:16 pm
I agree with Bonnie on this one. The tractor trailer had pulled out of the truck stop and was traveling in the proper (right) lane. A loaded truck would be in the process of accelerating to highway speed. Any driver coming up to that section of road has clear visibility and should (as a courtesy) move to the left and pass them then return to the right lane or slow down to match their speed. It appears in this case she did not, opting instead to slam into the rear of the trailer. Was she distracted? Only an investigation can prove / disprove that. But one thing is for certain. She wasn't paying attention to the road nor was she following the rules of the road.
Antigone · August 1, 2017 at 1:15 pm
I just wanted to add that IIHS is also working on tractor trailor underride prevention -- i.e., features build into the back and sides of tractor trailors to prevent cars from sliding under the trailors, killing car occupants. More work is needed on this and more tractor trailor owners need to incorporate effective anti-underride systems on their trailors.
Antigone · August 1, 2017 at 1:10 pm
From the looks of the VW Jetta, it was indeed a horrific crash and it is miraculous that the VW driver survived. Give some kudos to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in Ruckersville, which has been incredibly effective with their crash testing and working with manufacturers to increase the crashworthiness of cars so that crashes like these can be survived. It is highly likely that the driver survived because of safety features built into this and other cars as a result of IIHS work. I attended an IIHS tour explaining and showing their work two months ago. It was very impressive -- and convincing. They are ahead of NHTSA in their crash testing program and many people undoubtedly owe their lives to IIHS programs. Check out their website and vehicle ratings at (P.S. I have no connection to IIHS -- I am just an impressed observer.)
Bonnie C. · August 1, 2017 at 12:19 pm
Before everyone gets all hot & heavy about this traffic intersection, this is CLEARLY a matter of the auto driver NOT PAYING ATTENTION!! Was she on her phone? Texting? Speeding? Just look at the damage to her vehicle!! It's plain as day that she was driving WAY over the posted speed for that intersection.

Folks - before you blame the way an intersection is set up, TAKE A STRONG LOOK AT YOUR DRIVING HABITS!!!
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