Three college students from Virginia were killed in a three-vehicle
accident on Interstate 64 near the Sandstone/Hinton exit.
A Hinton man also was injured in the collision.
Summers County emergency officials said the accident occurred
about 6:52 p.m. Thursday and involved a tractor-trailer, an SUV and
a midsize passenger car.
State Police Cpl. G.J. Reed of the Hinton detachment said the
driver of the tractor-trailer, 49-year-old Ruben Fuentes of
Powhatan, Va., was traveling west toward Beckley when he lost
control of his tractor-trailer. It crossed the median and collided
with an eastbound vehicle, a Volkswagen driven by 19-year-old Cayce
Castelow of Norfolk, Va.
Castelow was killed along with her two passengers, 18-year-old
Benjamin Hutson of Norfolk and 18-year-old Joseph Amoury of
The students had just finished their freshman year at Virginia
Commonwealth University, police said. They had attended a concert in
Lexington, Ky., and planned to stop for the night in Richmond
Thursday before heading back home today.
"(Their) vehicle went under the tractor-trailer, killing all
three people inside," Reed said.
Reed said it was raining at the time of the accident.
He said the tractor-trailer continued to skid in the eastbound
lanes until it struck another vehicle, a Subaru Forester station
wagon driven by Andrei Kharisov, 45, of Hinton. Kharisov’s
10-year-old son was a passenger in the vehicle, Reed said. Both of
them were transported to Raleigh General Hospital, treated and
Fuentes, the driver off the tractor-trailer, also was taken to
Raleigh General, treated for minor injuries and released.
Reed said an accident reconstruction team was on the scene this
afternoon and the investigation is ongoing. He could not say if any
charges will be filed.
"It looks like from eyewitnesses that the truck was not
traveling recklessly or even at a high rate of speed," Reed
said. "It looks like he was traveling on wet pavement and just
went into a slide."
The accident forced officials to close the eastbound lanes of the
interstate well into Thursday evening. Traffic at first was stopped
just west of the I-64 bridge that crosses the New River, then was
stopped at the top of Sandstone Mountain.
The Sandstone Volunteer Fire Department and Summers County EMS
also responded to the scene.