CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - All lanes are now open on Route 288 north and south at the James River Bridge following an earlier vehicle accident, which closed Route 288 south for four hours. Motorists should expect residual delays.
The crash happened around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday between an SUV and a waste management trash truck on the bridge. According to Virginia State Police, apparently the trash truck lost a bag of garbage out of back. The driver pulled to the side of the road to pick up the trash.
A 1999 Land Rover struck the trash truck in the rear. The driver, Gregory J. Briehl, 56, suffered serious life-threatening injuries in the crash and was flown by Virginia State Police Med-flight to Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center. Briehl was wearing his safety belt.
The driver of the trash truck, Ricky Howell, 46, of Henrico, has been charged with reckless driving and improper stopping. He was not injured.
"The width of the shoulder is the same width of where the crash occurred, so he's partially stopped on the shoulder and partially in the travel lane," said Virginia State Police spokesman, Sgt. Thomas Molnar.
For nearly five hours, all lanes on 288 south were closed. Southbound traffic was diverted into one of the northbound lanes to allow cars to get by.
Investigators are reminding drivers to only pull onto the shoulder during an emergency.
If something flies out of your vehicle and you need to retrieve it, get off at the next exit or pull over at a safe location and call police.
"We'll dispatch a trooper to assist with retrieving that item that comes out of your vehicle," Molnar said.
Police also encourage drivers to put on their hazards when pulling to the shoulder of the road.
The driver of that trash truck had no comment. Police say he was heading to Chester when the crash occurred.