Police identify driver involved in fatal crash on I-295

Source: Jeff Rose - Prince George Journal
Source: Jeff Rose - Prince George Journal
Source: Jeff Rose - Prince George Journal
Source: Jeff Rose - Prince George Journal
Source: Jeff Rose - Prince George Journal
Source: Jeff Rose - Prince George Journal

By: Laura Geller - bio | email

PRINCE GEORGE, VA (WWBT) - An accident involving three tractor trailers leaves one dead. Police say 49-year-old Lionardo S. Reina of Miami Florida died shortly after his truck overturned on I-295.

The crash happened around 4:00 Saturday morning just a mile north of Route 460 in Prince George County. Northbound lanes of 295 were closed for almost eleven hours, re-opening around 2:30 p.m.

One of the drivers involved in the accident agreed to speak on-camera. Identifying himself only as Eric, the seven-year truck driver was shocked by the severity of the crash.

"I've seen bad accidents before, but this is pretty bad here," he said.

Eric explains the conditions on his drive from North Carolina to New Jersey were treacherous to say the least.

"It was real foggy," he said. "You probably couldn't see as far as ten feet in front of you coming down the road."

Police say Reina was driving south down 295 when he veered off the road and ended up jackknifed in the northbound lanes. Police say he then got out his truck just as another truck traveling north crashed into the first vehicle, hitting and killing Reina. It was only after that collision that Eric's truck came into the picture.

"That trailer and another trailer were in the highway but there was a small gap," he said. "When I saw it I said 'oh my God' but then I saw the gap and I reacted real quick. I jerked my truck and went in between the gap to keep from hitting the other trailers."

But Reina's truck spilled its load of 2,700 pound paper reams and Eric's truck smashed into them.

"If I would have hit the trailers, I probably wouldn't be sitting here talking to you right now," Eric said.

One passenger was taken to Southside Medical Center. The second driver, who had serious injuries, was transported to VCU Medical Center.

VDOT spokesperson Taya Jarman says a situation like this makes for a difficult cleanup.

"There are a lot of different pieces to that puzzle to make sure that our roads stay and remain safe after any incident, especially one of this magnitude," she said.

Virginia State Police are still investigating why Reina's truck ran off the road in the first place.

Authorities say weather is considered a factor in the crash.

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