A state trooper pulled three people from a burning Lexus early Saturday morning, likely saving the life of one man, police said, while another man and a teenage girl died from their injuries.
Police said the crash that set the vehicle ablaze on I-95 at Route 24 near Abingdon might have been caused by road rage.
Around 2 a.m. a Lexus, driven by Veney B. Tanner Jr., 31, of Abingdon, was hit by a box truck traveling north on the highway. Off-duty
Watkins performed CPR on an unresponsive Tanner, who was later pronounced dead at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, according to police. One of the passengers, Janelle E. Jackson, 17, of Baltimore, was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where she later died.
A second trooper arrived just after Watkins pulled the third person from the car, by which time the second trooper said it was engulfed in flames.
Reached by phone, Kathryn Tanner, 52, Veney Tanner's mother, said he had two sons ages 9 and 11. She described the passengers of the car as friends of her son and said he was on his way home when the accident happened.
"Everybody loved him," she said. "He was the kind of person who'd give you the shirt off his back, or buy you a shirt if you need it."
The second passenger, Myron Doram, 38, of
Police said that before the accident Tanner appeared to have been involved in a dispute with some people riding in a dark-colored Jeep. The Jeep had stopped suddenly, forcing Tanner to do the same, and the two vehicles had pulled over onto the shoulder, according to police.
A group of people got out of the Jeep and at least one was banging on the windows of Tanner's car, police said.
Tanner pulled away cutting across the northbound lanes of the highway and was hit by the truck, according to police, while the Jeep left the scene.
The accident closed the northbound side of I-95 for five hours, but the lanes reopened at 7:30 a.m. Saturday and police are continuing to investigate.