Car Brakes Fail, Teens Eject Themselves on I-81 in Augusta
Virginia State Police Press Release
AUGUSTA CO. – A teenager and a state police sergeant are being treated for injuries sustained in a high-speed incident on Interstate 81 Tuesday afternoon (April 9, 2013) in Augusta County, Va.
At 12:32 p.m., a 911 call was transferred to the Virginia State Police Appomattox Division's Emergency Communications Center from a 19-year-old male. The young man was the passenger in a 1998 Mazda Protégé that was traveling south on Interstate 81. The vehicle was at the 230 mile marker at Weyers Cave and the brakes were not working. According to the teenager, the car was going approximately 60 mph, but would gain and lose speed in accordance with the grade of the interstate.
A Virginia State Police dispatcher stayed on the line with the passenger as troopers responded to the moving vehicle's location. The dispatcher passed along various solutions for the driver to do in an attempt to get the car stopped. Meanwhile, additional troopers and deputies with the Augusta County Sheriff's Office were positioning themselves around the car in order to keep other vehicles along I-81 from being struck.
As the car reached the 218 mile marker, the young man said it was moving at approximately 110 mph. At approximately 12:45 p.m. near the 218 mile marker, both the driver and passenger leapt from the moving car. Virginia State Police Sgt. C.J. Aikens then positioned his vehicle in front of the Mazda to stop and force it into the guardrail off the left shoulder of the southbound lanes of I-81. The Mazda was traveling at roughly 100 mph when it struck Aikens' patrol car.
STATE POLICE UPDATE/CORRECTION SENT April 10, 2013:
The Mazda ran into the median and slowed to approximately 30 mph – 40 mph when the male passenger jumped from the front seat of the car. He was dragged a slight distance before finally being able to break free from the car. Moments later, as the car continued south through the grassy median, the female driver jumped from the car. The car then continued – driverless and gaining speed – through the median headed for the northbound traffic on I-81… at which time Sgt. Aikens was able to catch up with the car. The sergeant rammed the car back into the median and then into the southbound lanes. Sgt. Aikens continued to ram the driverless car towards a guardrail off the right side of the road to finally trap and stop it.
The 19-year-old driver, Amy D. Guevara of Harrisonburg, Va., was not injured, but has been taken to Augusta Health as a precautionary measure. The passenger, Sean Wies, was transported to Augusta Health for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.
Sgt. Aikens is also being treated for non-life threatening injuries at Augusta Health.
The Virginia State Police Accident Reconstruction Team responded to the scene to investigate the incident. No charges will be filed.