MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A tanker truck overturning Wednesday night around the 15 mile marker causing massive delays on I-81 northbound was part of a larger story.

Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department Chief Administrator Eric Burnett says traffic was already halted on the interstate near the Hammonds Mill Bridge because law enforcement had gotten a report about a suicidal male who was threatening to jump off the bridge. Burnett says traffic was slowed around the bridge for about five minutes as law enforcement tried to find the man, but was reopened at 6:46 p.m.

“Shortly after the interstate was re-opened, a tractor trailer struck a blue in color sedan northbound near the 15 mile marker,” Burnett says. “The driver of the blue sedan was ejected. The tractor trailer then struck the driver side of a white SUV. The tractor trailer then flipped on its side, which caused the Interstate to be shut down.”

Burnett says the injured sedan driver was life flighted to a regional shock trauma center in critical condition.
That crash remains under investigation, and the Sheriff’s office is not releasing the injured driver’s name.

The tanker truck accident was first reported around 7 p.m. and traffic was not cleared up for several hours.  The interstate reopened just after 2:00 in the morning.

Meanwhile, the man police were originally looking for was found and taken into custody by Martinsburg Police on a warrant for destruction of property charge. He was identified as Joseph S. Jiminez, age 35, of Martinsburg.

Burnett relayed that “Sheriff Rob Blair and the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department extend our thoughts and prayers to the driver and his family.”