Shortly before 12:40 a.m. Friday, a passenger vehicle had spun out of control in the northbound lanes of Interstate 81 near the 58 milepost in Wythe County (just south of Exit 60 for Rural Retreat). The car came to rest in left northbound travel lane. A 2005 Dodge Caravan pulled over onto the right shoulder so one of its passengers could render aid to the injured occupants of the disabled vehicle. Minutes later a northbound tractor-trailer came upon the disabled car. In an attempt to avoid hitting it, the tractor-trailer jackknifed and struck the Dodge Caravan.
The driver of the Dodge Caravan, William Edward Smith Jr., 25, of Mooresburg, Tenn., was standing outside the minivan when he was struck and killed. His father, William Edward Smith Sr., 54, of Sylva, N.C., was inside the minivan when it was struck. Both men died at the scene. A third occupant of the Caravan, who was a nurse and was rendering aid to those injured in the disabled car, was not injured. State Police Trooper H.D. Mooney is still investigating the crash and charges are pending at this time.