February 10 – After an 18-year-old lost his life yesterday in an accident on Interstate 81 near mile marker 61 in Cumberland County, a lot of people are starting to wonder what can be done?
Jeffrey Suter, a student at Bishop McDevitt High School, was apparently changing lanes from the center to the right when he lost control of his car and drove off the road.
Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM wondered, “Watching some drivers now have the courage to go very, very fast past traffic and weave in and out of traffic, I’d be very interested and I’m wondering if I can file a Right to Know to find out what was happening on the camera angles before this crash happened? There are some absolute maniacs out there. Do I have the Right to Know on those camera angles on 81?”
Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “I think you could get them. If there’s any kind of a criminal investigation afoot, those camera angles and the footage from the cameras would not be accessible yet, but eventually they would be. That stretch up through there, really from about Harrisburg to Winchester, Virginia, is just an awful stretch of 81, but in particular, that area up through Carlisle, warehouse after warehouse, exit after exit, it is heavy, heavy truck traffic.”
When someone is doing 75 miles per hour and weaving in and out of traffic, it’s a set up for tragedy.
In fact, sections of I-81 in West Virginia are known as “crash valley” and the section between Chambersburg and Carlisle is particularly dangerous because there can be up to 85,000 drivers a day using that road.
And in Virginia, accidents have doubled in the last ten years on Interstate 81 in certain sections, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Studies have shown that there is more traffic on the roads – cars and tractor trailers.
Ryan said, “I go out of my way now to help out the 18-wheelers on those tight stretches there. I will purposefully slow the heck down and make sure that they can see me in their mirrors so if they need to move in and out there, it’s not worth the accident. They need all the help they can get here.”