Virginia State Police are investigating two separate crashes that occurred early Saturday within a mile of one another on Interstate 81 in Frederick County.
According to the press release, the first one occurred at 5:30 a.m., and is being investigated by Trooper S.R. Marks. A tractor-trailer was stopped on the right shoulder of the southbound lanes of I-81 at the 306 mile marker when a southbound minivan ran off the right side of the interstate and struck the tractor-trailer.
The driver of the minivan, Jennifer L. Cole, 39, of Woodstock, Va., was transported to Winchester Memorial Hospital for treatment of serious but non-life threatening injuries. She was wearing a seatbelt.
The driver of the tractor-trailer, Milen Pepelyankov, 34, of Chicago, Ill., was not injured in the crash. He was charged with improper stopping on a highway.
As a tractor-trailer crested a hill in the southbound lanes of I-81, it came upon slowed traffic due to the crash at the 306 mile marker. The tractor-trailer was unable to brake in time and rear-ended a 2013 Mercedes Benz. The impact of that crash sparked a chain reaction crash among three other vehicles in the southbound lanes. In the end, there were a total of five vehicles involved in the crash, to include the tractor-trailer.
The driver of the tractor-trailer, Carl Paris, 55, of Georgia, was not injured in the crash. But a female passenger in the sleeper part of the cab at the time of the crash was injured and transported to Winchester Memorial Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.
The driver of the Mercedes, Mikhail Shmaydiy, 46, of Iowa, and passenger, Timothy Shmaydiy, 12, died at the scene. Timothy was the son of Mikchail.
No one in the other three vehicles was injured.
Paris was charged with reckless driving. The crash remains under investigation.