Salem Man Charged in I-581 Accident in Roanoke, Police Still Collecting Evidence
Salem, VA - The Salem man accused of causing the massive wreck Wednesday on I-581 that killed two truck drivers is now facing serious charges.
Timothy Wellons, 34, is charged with DUI and two counts of involuntary manslaughter for his role in the wreck.
He was arraigned Thursday morning in Roanoke General District Court. Wellons was arrested as he was discharged from Carilion Roanoke Memorial hospital overnight.
State Police say that part of the evidence against him is his admission to drinking in time leading up to the wreck.
As construction crews worked to repair a large section of 581 damaged by fire Wednesday afternoon, state police investigators are still trying to put together the evidence they will need to support the involuntary manslaughter charges against Wellons.
"At some point as he is weaving in and out of traffic, he makes contact with a north bound tractor trailer. He is forced to cross into the median and strikes a southbound tractor trailer head on," said Sgt. Rick Garletts with Virginia State Police.
The impact was followed by two more cars entering the mix which quickly caught fire as the tractor trailers' gas tanks ruptured.
"I know the Adams Construction vehicle that was also against the guardrail and involved was carrying 80 to 100 pounds of diesel fuel on it as well."
Kenneth Graham of North Carolina and 36-year-old Paul Golding of Salem died in the wreck. Now investigators are waiting for search warrants before looking for more evidence in Wellons' car and in his bloodstream. That evidence that could change the nature of his charges because in Virginia, if you are responsible for an alcohol related accident that injured or kill somebody, the law provides for enhanced charges that carry a much different penalty.
Roanoke's Commonwealth's Attorney Don Caldwell says he expects to introduce evidence to a July grand jury that he believes will qualify Wellons for those upgraded charges.