Augusta County Deputy Injured in I-81 Hit-and-Run: Questions Surround Incident
Written by: Sam Orlando
Augusta County, VA - An unsettling incident on Interstate 81 has stirred both sympathy and skepticism in Augusta County. As news broke of a deputy's vehicle being struck by a hit-and-run tractor-trailer amidst a VDOT work zone, relief over his non-fatal injuries was slowly overshadowed by questions about the mysterious circumstances of the collision.
On Sunday, August 6, 2023, at a minute shy of 10:00 pm, the deputy was driving on I-81 near mile marker 220, according to a statement released by Augusta County Sheriff Donald Smith. This portion of the interstate, recognized by the orange cones and dimmed lights, was a Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) work zone. The deputy wasn’t racing against time, responding to an emergency, or chasing a suspect, according to the Sheriff. Yet, the back of his marked Ford Explorer was rammed by a seemingly untraceable tractor-trailer. The force of the collision thrust the police vehicle 100 feet forward, right into a VDOT work truck, only to then be spun around.
Strangely, amidst the VDOT workers and other potential witnesses, the tractor-trailer vanished into the dark highway without a trace or identifiable marking. Sheriff Smith says the identity of the truck and truck driver are unknown.
These VDOT workers assisted at the crash scene, and the deputy was immediately transported to Augusta Health. His injuries were thankfully not life-threatening.
Augusta County Sheriff Donald Smith was quick to thank the immediate response from VDOT workers, the Virginia State Police, local fire and rescue teams, and the Augusta County Emergency Communications Center. He emphasized the importance of safety measures, like wearing a seatbelt, which played a crucial role in ensuring the deputy’s injuries weren’t more severe.
However, questions linger. In an era when most highways, especially work zones, are under constant surveillance, how did a massive tractor-trailer escape unidentified? How, in a zone filled with workers, was there no immediate call to stop the fleeing vehicle or get any identifying markers?
These questions add fuel to an already burning fire of skepticism, especially as Sheriff Smith's office has recently been under scrutiny for alleged transparency issues, most notably their aversion to body cameras. For a public that demands accountability and safety from its protectors, the strange circumstances surrounding this hit-and-run only seem to deepen the mystery.
For now, the Virginia State Police is leading the charge, urging anyone with information regarding the incident to step forward. As the search for the tractor-trailer continues, so does the quest for clarity and trust in Augusta County.
Anyone with insights into the incident is urged to contact the Virginia State Police, Area 17 Office. The State Police office can be reached at (434) 351-7128. Breaking Through will bring you updates on this story as they become available.