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Fatal crashes mar holiday in SW Va.



At least three fatal crashes, two involving motorcycles, marred the Labor Day holiday in Southwest Virginia.

According to Virginia State Police (VSP), fatal crashes occurred in Southwest Virginia three of the four days that make up the holiday’s statistical counting period — 12:01 a.m. Friday through midnight Monday.

As of Monday morning, State Police had investigated six fatalities statewide over the holiday. That’s one more than in 2017, but official figures have not yet been released.

The first Southwest Virginia crash occurred Friday on Interstate 81 in Smyth County.

Corinne Geller, VSP spokeswoman, said a 2002 Honda Goldwing motorcycle was northbound at mile marker 57 at 9:27 a.m. when the bike ran off the right side of the interstate and hit a guardrail. The operator, Ronald T. Putman, 76, of Taneytown, Md., died later Friday morning at a hospital.

Geller said alcohol was not a factor in the crash. Putman was wearing a helmet.

Saturday’s crash took place at 11:40 p.m. on Route 16 near Plum Creek in Tazewell County. Geller said a northbound 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee crossed the centerline, striking a 2007 Honda Shadow motorcycle.

Glenn Muncy, 55, of Atkins, Va., who was operating the motorcycle and was wearing a helmet, died at the scene.

Charges are pending against the Jeep’s 18-year-old male driver, according to Geller. The teen was not injured.

A Fancy Gap man was killed in the third crash, on Route 58 Bypass in Hillsville.

Geller said a 2000 Dodge Dakota ran off the left side of the road, hitting a guardrail head-on, as it attempted to enter the Route 52 exit ramp while traveling east on the bypass. The impact caused the Dodge to overturn, continue off the right side of the road, hitting a second guardrail.

The driver, Ryan Rakes, 33, of Fancy Gap, was wearing a seatbelt, but still died at the scene of the 1:50 a.m. incident.

Investigations into all three crashes continue.



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