'Immediate response' warranted following investigation into JRB crashes

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by 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on July 11, 2013 at 5:43 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 29 at 11:53 PM

ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY- An investigation into crashes on the James River Bridge warrants "an immediate response."  That's the outcome of a meeting Wednesday with VDOT, the Isle of Wight County Sheriff's Office, Va. State Police and Newport News Police.  

A review of department records promoted Sheriff Mark Marshall to ask VDOT to put new safety measures place.

"More disturbing is the number of accidents on the maritime span with the recently replaced grid-deck," Marshall wrote to VDOT Commissioner Gregory Whirley.

He said the county responded to 11 accidents in all of 2012, two of which occurred on the grid-deck.  As of July 2013, sheriff's deputies had already has responded to 19 crashes, 13 of which occurred on the grid-deck over the span. Marshall noted that it was raining or misting at the time of those 13 accidents.

The new grid deck was installed about seven months ago and dozens of crashes were reported. 13News Now reported on July 3 that VDOT said it started an investigation in May.

On July 1, 20-year-old Kayla Williams died after crashing on the bridge. A memorial is being held Friday and there will be a there will be a special event - Sparkle Light Remembrance for Kayla Williams - on Saturday night on Huntington Beach in Newport News, at the base of the James River Bridge.

Marshall stressed that his information was only based the response by Isle of Wight County authorities.

Click here to read Sheriff Marshall's letter to VDOT.
Click here to read the crash data.

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