WYTHE COUNTY, Va. -

Two people were killed and two others were hurt in a series of wrecks on Interstate 81 near mile marker 60 in Wythe County early Tuesday morning.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says it may be early Wednesday morning before all lanes are reopened after an accident on Interstate 81.

One southbound lane and one northbound lane are still closed in the area as crews make repairs to the road.

Crews hope to have the lanes open by 6 a.m.

The chain of events began around 3:23 a.m. at mile marker 60 on I-81 South when a tractor-trailer overturned in the road. The driver, 53-year-old Philip Embiata of Texas, escaped the tractor-trailer moments before it was hit by a Lexus SUV also headed south. The driver of the Lexus SUV died en route to the hospital. She has been identified as Tanya Mann of Zirconia, N.C. She was 56.

Shortly after, a second tractor-trailer headed north on I-81 ran off the left side of the interstate after hitting a piece of guardrail in the road. The guardrail was damaged in the first crash.

According to Virginia State Police, hitting the guardrail that was in the road caused the tractor-trailer to run off the left side of the road and into the median. The tractor-trailer continued down between the northbound and southbound lanes of I-81 in the median until it hit the edge of a bridge.

The tractor-trailer then fell below onto Route 90. The impact of the crash caused the tractor-trailer to catch on fire. The man who was driving the tractor-trailer, James R. Anderson, 34, of Tennessee died at the scene. A man who was in the sleeper cab, Jeremy Johnson, 36, also of Tennessee, was thrown from the tractor-trailer. He suffered life-threatening injuries and was flown to Bristol Regional Medical Center.

Emiabata, who was driving the first tractor-trailer, was taken to Wythe County Community Hospital for minor injuries. He has been charged with reckless driving.

Here is the updated news release from Virginia State Police:
WYTHE CO., Va. – Two individuals were killed and two other individuals were injured in a series of traffic crashes on Interstate 81 near the 60 mile marker in Wythe County Tuesday morning (April 1, 2014).

At 3:23 a.m., Virginia State Police Trooper G.A. Purvis was called to the scene of an overturned tractor-trailer on I-81. The tractor-trailer, which was loaded with laundry detergent, was traveling north on I-81 when it ran off the left side of the road. The tractor-trailer overturned onto its side coming to rest across the median and left southbound lane of I-81. Its driver, Philip O. Emiabata, 53, of Pflugerville, Texas, suffered minor injuries. He was transported to Wythe County Community Hospital for treatment. Emiabata has been charged with reckless driving.

Moments after the first crash, a 2000 Lexus SUV traveling south on I-81 struck the overturned tractor-trailer. The adult female driver died en-route to the hospital. State police are still working to make next of kin notification.

Within minutes of that crash, a second tractor-trailer headed north on I-81 struck a piece of guardrail in the roadway that had been damaged in the initial crash. Striking the guardrail caused this tractor-trailer to run off the left side of the road into the median. The tractor-trailer continued down between the north and southbound lanes of I-81, struck the edge of the interstate bridge and fell onto the highway underneath the interstate. When the tractor-trailer crashed onto Black Lick Road/Route 90, it caught fire.

The tractor-trailer’s driver, James R. Anderson, 34, of Decherd, Tenn., died at the scene. Its passenger, Jeremy W. Johnson, 36, of Tracy City, Tenn., was ejected from the sleeper cab and flown to Bristol Regional Medical Center for treatment of life-threatening injuries. This tractor-trailer was loaded with shrubbery.

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Two people are dead and another was seriously hurt after three separate crashes on Interstate 81 in Wythe County early Tuesday morning.

The right northbound lane of I-81 re-opened at 8:30 a.m. Traffic on I-81 South is being detoured off the interstate at Exit 60. Also, Route 90/Black Lick Road is closed. Traffic on I-81 is backed up about two miles.

The chain of events began around 3:23 a.m. at mile marker 60 on I-81 South when a tractor-trailer overturned in the road. The driver, 53-year-old Philip Embiata of Texas, escaped the tractor-trailer moments before it was hit by a Lexus SUV headed south. The driver of the Lexus SUV died en route to the hospital. Her name has not been released yet.

A short time later a second tractor-trailer headed north on I-81 ran off the left side of the interstate after hitting a piece of guardrail in the road. The guardrail was damaged in the first crash.

According to Virginia State Police hitting the guardrail that was in the road caused the tractor-trailer to run off the left side of the road and into the median. The tractor-trailer continued down between the northbound and southbound lanes of I-81 in the median until it hit the edge of a bridge.

The tractor-trailer then fell below onto Route 90. The impact of the crash caused the tractor-trailer to catch on fire. The man who was driving the tractor-trailer died at the scene. A man who was in the sleeper cab was thrown from the tractor-trailer. He suffered life-threatening injuries and was flown to Bristol Regional Medical Center.

Virginia State Police have not released the identities of those involved in the accidents.

Emiabata, who was driving the first tractor-trailer, was taken to Wythe County Community Hospital for minor injuries. He has been charged with reckless driving.

Here is the news release from Virginia State Police:

Two individuals were killed and two other individuals were injured in a series of traffic crashes on Interstate 81 near the 60 mile marker in Wythe County Tuesday morning (April 1, 2014).