UPDATE AUG. 17, 3 P.M.: As of 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, the West Virginia Division of Highways had inspected the bridge for safety and both lanes of I-79 South have reopened.
WHITE HALL, W.Va. (WBOY) — A 71-year-old man from Bridgeport was killed in the fiery crash on I-79 South in Marion County on Tuesday.
The crash happened just before 4:30 p.m. near mile marker 132.5.
In a press release Wednesday morning, West Virginia State Police Deputy Chief of Staff Robert Maddy said Larry Lee Atha hit a guardrail end before traveling across both southbound lanes and hitting the guardrail again. Maddy said that is when the vehicle, which appears to have been a large truck, caught fire. It came to a rest in the right lane on the Tygart River Bridge.
Maddy said Atha wasn’t able to get out of the truck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office’s records indicate that Larry Atha was the President of Bridgeport-based Atha Trucking.
The crash is still under investigation. 12 News staff report that the right lane of I-79 South near the crash site was still closed near the crash site on Wednesday morning.
The crash caused long delays on I-79 Tuesday evening, closing both southbound lanes and slowing traffic on I-79 north.