Route 460 crash claims life

Published 8:24 am Monday, August 25, 2008

A Wakefield woman has died as a result of injuries she received in a violent accident on Thursday that shut down Route 460 for more than nine hours.

Mary E. Willis, 71, was pronounced dead after being transported by helicopter to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, according to Virginia State Police Trooper S.L. Bowman.

Bowman said Willis was a front-seat passenger in an eastbound 1997 Ford Explorer driven by her son, when they collided nearly head-on with a tractor-trailer that had been headed west along the same road.

The son, 46-year-old Allen Lee Willis of Wakefield, was flown by a second helicopter to Norfolk General, where he was listed in stable condition on Friday, the trooper said. The driver of the truck, William Mead of Richmond, was westbound on Route 460 when he ran off the road to the right, then re-entered the roadway, crossed the center line and jackknifed in front of the Explorer.

The smaller vehicle struck the truck near its gas tank, and the truck ran off the road, where its cab rolled and wedged between two trees, Bowman said Friday.

The truck driver received minor injuries to his hand. He was driven to Obici Memorial Hospital, where he was treated and released, Bowman said. He has been charged with reckless driving for failing to maintain proper control.

Bowman called for the highway to be closed at about 11:10 a.m. Thursday, and traffic continued to be redirected until about 8:40 p.m., while a State Police accident reconstruction team evaluated the scene.

Bowman was at the accident site again Friday morning continuing his investigation.

Following up on an unrelated accident, State Police said on Friday that an Ivor woman who smashed into a tree on Flaggy Run on Tuesday was charged with failing to maintain her lane.

Trooper D.R. Bicking said the 2000 Chevrolet Silverado driven by Cynthia Brimberry was a total loss.

Brimberry had been flown by Nightingale Air Ambulance to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, where she was treated and released.

Also, Franklin police reported Friday that the driver of a car found crashed into a field Aug. 14 had turned himself in and confessed to speeding.

Police had responded to a report of an accident in the 400 block of Hunterdale Road, only to find an empty 2008 Scion that had left the roadway and rolled over in the field.

A Southampton County tracking dog was unable to find the missing driver.

Franklin Police Lt. T.W. Whitt said Friday that Ricky Marvin Lanier II, 29, of Chaucer Court in Franklin, had called police the next day and confessed to driving the vehicle, speeding and crashing it.

Lanier told police he had fled the scene “because he was scared,” Whitt said. He was charged with reckless driving.