Northern Virginia

EB I-66 Shut Down for Hours After Driver Crashes Into Sign Pole

Road crews had to use cranes to remove a damaged structure that holds up overhead signs

A driver crashed into a sign pole on Interstate 66 in Centreville Wednesday afternoon, shutting down eastbound lanes for hours and snarling traffic across Northern Virginia during the evening rush hour. 

All eastbound lanes of I-66 reopened at about 9 p.m., about five hours after officials closed them. 

Virginia State Police say a 27-year-old woman driving a Kia ran off the left side of eastbound I-66 and into the median, where the car hit a pole supporting a highway sign. The impact caused the Kia to catch fire, state police said.

The driver had minor injuries and was treated at the scene. 

A state trooper saw the Kia hit the pole while stopping a driver who was reported to be driving recklessly. The trooper then ran to help the Kia driver who crashed, state police said.

The cause of the Kia crash is under investigation and charges are pending, police said.

Video from Chopper4 showed the silver Kia's entire front end crumpled against the poles holding up the structure in the median. At least one of the gantry's poles were bent and leaning on the car.

Road crews determined the structure was unsound after the crash and it took hours for them to take it apart and remove it with cranes. They then towed the car from the median.

Traffic was diverted to Route 29 for several hours.

The driver previously stopped by the trooper was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of drugs and driving on a suspended license, according to state police.

Shortly before the Centreville crash, a tractor trailer overturned on eastbound I-66 in Manassas.

Stay with News4 and for updates.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story reflected a previous statement from Virginia State Police that the driver who hit the pole was charged with DUI. Police now say it was a different driver who was charged with DUI before the crash.

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