VSP: 2 dead, 2 missing, several rescued from Tropical Storm Michael flooding, crashes

    (River City TV)

    PITTSYLVANIA Co., Va. (WSET)-- Virginia State Police responded to dozens of calls for traffic crashes, stranded vehicles, downed trees, debris in the roadway and flooded highways from Tropical Storm Michael.

    State Police is investigating at least one death related to a vehicle being swept off a Pittsylvania County road by flash flooding. They also conducted rescue missions in Pittsylvania and Charlotte counties.

    They are also investigating a two-vehicle crash in Hanover County that claimed the life of one firefighter and injured three others.

    From 2 p.m. Thursday through midnight, police responded to approximately 300 traffic crashes and 230 calls for debris and downed trees in the roadway statewide.

    They said the majority of the calls for service related to the heavy rains and strong winds originated in the Salem, Appomattox, Richmond and Chesapeake divisions.

    In the Mt. Hermon community of Pittsylvania County, Virginia State Police responded to help locate James E. King Jr., 45, of Dry Fork, Va., who was swept away from his vehicle.

    According to police, his vehicle got caught in a flash flood in the 600 block of Sandy Creek Road around 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

    They said a Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Deputy and a local resident attempted to rescue King, but the floodwaters were too deep and too swift for them to maintain contact with him.

    Special Agents with the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and local volunteer firefighters located the King's remains downstream at around 10:37 p.m.

    In the Blairs community of Pittsylvania County, Virginia State Police Swift Water Rescue divers responded to an emergency call for three local volunteer firefighters whose boat had capsized at around 8:45 p.m. Thursday.

    According to police, firefighters were in a swollen stream attempting a rescue of individuals caught in the rising waters on a bridge.

    They said the fast-moving water pushed the boat into the bridge, which caused the boat to overturn and eject the three occupants into the water.

    State Police troopers said they were able to pull two of the firefighters from the water and the motorist to safety.

    The third firefighter was swept downstream, where a local resident was able to help pull him out and onto land.

    State Police responded to assist the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office search for three individuals swept away from a bridge along Mt. Harmony Road.

    They said one of the individuals was safely rescued, however the search remains ongoing for the other two occupants of the vehicle.

    According to police, the Hanover County Fire & EMS was stopped at a crash scene on I-295 rendering aid to those involved in a two-vehicle crash.

    They said a tractor-trailer rear-ended one of the stopped fire engines although it had its emergency lights activated at around 9 p.m. in Hanover County.

    According to police, the impact of that crash struck four firefighters. One of the firefighters, Lt. Brad Clark, died from his injuries at the scene. Three others were transported to VCU Medical Center for treatment of serious injuries.

    They said the driver of the tractor-trailer was also transported for treatment of serious injuries.

    The crash remains under investigation and charges are pending.

    On Friday, those in areas hit hardest by the storm are advised to delay travel if possible. That will allow VDOT and utility crews faster access to clearing the roads of downed trees and power lines.

    For those who must travel police are advising:

    • give yourself plenty of extra travel time,
    • be prepared for possible detours,
    • slow your speed on rural roads so you have more distance and time to react to debris in the roadway,
    • don’t drive distracted,
    • and always wear your seat belt.

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