Four tractor-trailers were involved in a wreck Wednesday that backed up traffic for several miles and claimed the life of a Florida man on Interstate 77 in Carroll County.
According to Virginia State Police Trooper S.M. Phillips, the accident occurred at 3:40 p.m. at the 22.5-mile marker on I-77 North, very close to the infamous “Tater Hole” curve. Phillips said Harry Rhoades, 43, of Miami Gardens, Florida was operating a 2006 International tractor-trailer when he approached slowing and stopped traffic and struck a 2012 International tractor-trailer driven by Garrett Wilcott, 33, of Fort Worth, Texas. Rhoades struck Wilcott’s vehicle in the right rear corner, causing Rhoades’ vehicle to go into the right lane before striking a 2004 Volvo tractor-trailer driven by Jerry Floyd, 28, of Kingsport, Tennessee.
Phillips said Rhoades’ truck hit the left front corner of Floyd’s cab, causing Floyd to hit the guardrail. Rhoades’ vehicle continued on, striking the guardrail and running between the guardrail and a 2007 Kenworth tractor-trailer driven by James Jennings, 49, of Rock, West Virginia.
“When he ran between them, at some point the vehicles separated temporarily and Mr. Rhoades was ejected and run over by the trailer tandems of Jennings’ trailer,” Phillips said.
Rhoades died instantly at the scene, Phillips said. No charges were filed, Phillips said, adding that traffic was backed up more than five miles as long as three hours after the accident. He said neither drugs nor alcohol appeared to be a factor in the wreck.
Trooper P.K. Cheek, Trooper R.D. Horton, Sgt. Todd and 1st Sgt. Warsinski also assisted at the scene, as did the Hillsville Volunteer Fire Department, Carroll County Fire and Rescue, Laurel Rescue Squad, the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, and three Wythe County deputies.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on [email protected]