MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Two people were killed and 14 others injured in a pair of multi-vehicle crashes on Interstate 81 in Berkeley County during morning rush hour Wednesday.

State Police First Sgt. C.K. Zerkle said a heavy snow squall created white out conditions at about 8:45 a.m.

“Heavy winds and heavy snow and it just occurred very quick and I guess people could not see and it began piling up,” the trooper said.

The entire interstate was closed from approximately 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. when the southbound lanes were reopened. One northbound lane reopened to traffic by 3:30 p.m.

Police said there were approximately 30 vehicles involved in the northbound crash near the 21 mile marker north of Martinsburg near Falling Waters. There was also a 10 vehicle pile-up in the southbound lanes nearby.

Zerkle said two people were killed in the northbound crash. Their names have not been released. Fourteen other motorists were injured. He said seven of the injured were taken to hospitals by emergency helicopters.

Fifteen to 20 vehicles sustained major damage including tractor trailers that had to be towed from the interstate.

The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the southbound wreck.


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  • KC

    I've been wondering also what has happened to the radar enforcement on West Virginia's interstate highways? It appears to no longer exist. Don't even remember the last time I've seen police presence on the highway. Nascar track is correct - just drive 79 between Motown and Clarksburg/Bridgeport.

  • VNL

    I agree...... I 81 North or South bound is dangerous. Truckers and motorists alike speed. Its normal to see cars going around 80 to 100 miles per hour and this is any time of the day. No enforcement of the speed limit once you go over the bridge to WV. I can go on and on the bridge between MD and WV is a mess. Huge pot holes on both lanes, reminates of tires all over the road at times. Not safe. What has happened to public safety?

  • thr

    To clarify. The accidents in VA and MD did not have nearly as many vehicles involved.
    By mid afternoon you couldn't even tell it snowed.

  • thr

    A similar series of accidents happened about 25 miles south on I-81 in the Winchester VA area and north on I-70 in the Clear Springs MD area.
    I was in VA when the whiteout there happened and the road went from dry to an ice skating rink in minutes.
    People slowed down some, but not enough. I was lucky that I only had about 3 miles to go to get off.

  • Gordon

    I live in southern WV, but was working in Martinsburg this week. I was stuck in the traffic. I hate to complain about this since life was lost in the actual crashes. However, the authorities did us drivers no favors at all. All 3 northbound lanes were merging together at exit 20 where it was closed from that point on. Not a single sign was placed anywhere. You didn't know to merge right until you were right there. And with the amount of 18 wheelers on I-81, there was a wall all around you of trucks. That was a bit frustrating. But like I said, I consider myself blessed not to have been on the road an hour earlier. I'll take the frustration any day. Prayers to the families involved.

  • jp

    Come on! Proofread before submitting the stories! "tolled" away???? Even my daughter knows this ain't right.

    • buba love

      I hope she knows that "ain't" is not a word, nor a contraction. I think you meant "is not" or "isn't.".

  • Jonus Grumby

    It's the worst series of wrecks I've ever seen in this area (I've lived here for over 40 years). Five helicopters were involved with evacuation the critically injured. The worse the weather, the faster people seem to go. Sure, the sudden snow squall is likely the culprit this morning, but I-81 has become a Nascar track. There has been little active enforcement seen there since the construction work has finished widening the roadway from 4 to 6 lanes north of Martinsburg.

    • WV Driver

      Ok grandpa turn off your blinker and stay in the right lane

      • StarInWV

        Really my friend? I bet it was the driver of the truck that killed the WV couple in Williamsport on I-81 last week was doing just that.

    • Jephre

      It would be interesting to know the number of drivers involved in these crashes that were talking/texting at the time of the accident.