Virginia State Police investigating two fatal crashes in Southwe - WFLA News Channel 8

Virginia State Police investigating two fatal crashes in Southwest Virginia

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Two people are dead after two crashes Tuesday morning in Southwest Virginia.

According to a Virginia State Police news release, the first crash happened at 8:20 a.m., on Route 646, less than a mile east of Route 801, in Wise County.

The driver of a 2006 Mitsubishi Galant, Linda R. Franklin, 46, of Big Stone Gap, Va., died at the scene. Troopers said Franklin was wearing her seat belt.

The vehicle's passenger, Patricia I. Rose, 57, of Nora, Va., was taken by ambulance to Norton Community Hospital for treatment of serious, but non-life threatening injuries. Rose was also reportedly wearing her seat belt.

The crash investigation is ongoing.

The second fatal crash happened at 8:40 a.m. in Buchanan County on Route 680, less than a mile south of Route 638

Virginia State Police said the crash involved a tractor-trailer, driven by Dennis D. Mills, 59, of Cedar Bluff, Va., that was traveling downhill on Route 680. Mills was partially ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene.

According to a VSP news release, witnesses told troopers they saw a tractor-trailer's brakes smoking heavily and when it rounded the curve in the road, it hit a utility pole, a road sign, a railroad bridge and then it overturned. 

The tractor-trailer then reportedly went off the road, went down an embankment and landed upside down in Dismal Creek.

The vehicle was reportedly carrying a full load of rock dust. The ongoing investigation into the crash has since revealed that the tractor-trailer had caught on fire prior to the crash. 

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