What caused Route 15 accident? State police provide details

Published 8:55 pm Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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What caused the Route 15 accident Tuesday that left multiple people dead? Virginia State Police troopers have a bit more of an answer today. The incident took place around 11:45 a.m., as Virginia State Police (VSP), Dillwyn Volunteer Fire Department, Toga Volunteer Fire Department and the Buckingham County Department of Emergency Services were all called out to the intersection of Route 15 and Saw Mill Road. 

According to Matthew Demlein, a public relations manager with VSP, a 2012 Ford Fusion was traveling southbound on Route 15, near the intersection with Route 781, when the vehicle suddenly crossed the centerline. The Fusion then hit a 2022 Ford T350 traveling north on Route 15. The Fusion then continued traveling the wrong way in the northbound lane of Route 15, Demlein said. It collided head-on with a 2021 Nissan Versa, with the impact of the crash causing the Versa to run off the road and overturn.

Both the driver of the Fusion, 77-year-old Erika Henshaw of Dillwyn and the passenger, 85-year-old Alvin P. Henshaw, died at the scene, Demlein said. The driver of the Versa, 66-year-old Runping Rhett of Alton and the passenger, 37-year-old Eric D. Truscott, also died at the scene.

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The driver of the Ford T350 was not injured, Demlein said.

Route 15 accident triggers help calls

At the time of the emergency call, fire and EMS officials were warned of multiple people with serious injuries and some still trapped inside their vehicle. Farmville Fire Department and Prince Edward Rescue were also asked for assistance. Traffic was shut down and detoured due to debris in the road. 

Cleanup and the investigation took several hours, with Route 15 shut down at that intersection from 11:45 a.m. until 3 p.m. State Police brought in the Appomattox Division’s Crash Reconstruction Team, to help determine what happened. 

Buckingham Emergency Services meanwhile issued a statement of thanks to all of the departments that helped Tuesday. That includes Dillwyn Fire, Toga Fire, Farmville Fire, Prince Edward Rescue, VSP and the Buckingham Sheriff’s Office. 

“We also send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of those involved in the accident,” Emergency Services staff said in the statement.