(VSP release) Virginia State Police is investigating a fatal motor vehicle crash which occurred on the southbound side of Interstate 81, near the 131 mile marker in Roanoke County. The crash occurred at 4:31 a.m., when a 2014 Chevrolet Traverse, traveling southbound at a high rate of speed, lost control and struck a tractor trailer in the rear. The driver of the Chevrolet, Belinda Chavez, believed to be in her 30’s, and the front seat passenger, Melissa Ayala, 36, were killed in the crash. There were 4 other occupants in the vehicle. Two adult females, and a 14 year old female juvenile, were transported to Roanoke Memorial Hospital with serious injuries. There was also an infant in the vehicle that was properly restrained, and uninjured.
The driver of the tractor trailer was not injured. The Virginia State Police Crash Reconstruction Team and the Motor Carrier Inspection Team were called to assist with the crash. The speed of the Chevrolet was a factor in the crash. All lanes were re-opened at 8:27 a.m.