Back-to-Back accidents delay I-95 traffic for hours

By Terry Harris

The investigations of two nearly simultaneous major accidents in Sussex County on Interstate 95 on March 23 caused a major slow-down of the main North-South corridor for several hours, according to a report from Virginia State Police.

Police say Darrell Phillips, 53, of Delaware was driving a 2013 Volvo tractor trailer southbound in I-95 at approximately 3 a.m. when he ran off the roadway, struck the guardrail, entered the median and finally overturned in the northbound lanes of Interstate 95, at the 31-mile marker. Phillips initially was trapped inside the vehicle but managed to escape uninjured.  He was charged with reckless driving and failure to maintain proper control of vehicle. 

Shortly after the first incident in the southbound lanes, Christopher Smidt of New Jersey was driving a 2005 Nissan Titan in the northbound lanes of Interstate 95 pulling an enclosed trailer carrying two Harley Davidson motorcycles when he ran off the roadway at the 28-mile marker and into the Nottoway River. According to the report, both Smidt and his passenger managed to escape the vehicle prior to its complete submersion in the river, and neither was injured from the crash. 

Assistance in recovering the vehicles from the water was provided by The Virginia State Police Search and Recovery Team.  The investigation is on-going.