Tropical Storm Michael kills at least five in Virginia

Flooding photoThe Mt. Harmony Road bridge where two people died in floodwaters. Virginia State Police photo.

Northern Virginia experienced heavy rains Thursday night into Friday morning as the remnants of Tropical Storm Michael moved through the area but other parts of Virginia were not so fortunate. At least five people are known to have died, according to a tally by the Virginia State Police.

In Charlotte County, a man drowned and a woman is missing after their car became stranded in high water on a bridge along Mt. Harmony Road. Rescuers found three occupants clinging to the bridge railing when they arrived on the scene Thursday night. A 17-year-old male was pulled to safety but two adults were swept away before rescuers could reach them. The man’s body was later recovered but the woman is still missing.

In Pittsylvania County, Virginia State Police responded to help locate James E. King Jr., 45, of Dry Fork, Va., who was swept away from his vehicle, which was caught in a flash flood. Despite the valiant efforts of a Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Deputy and a local resident to rescue King, the floodwaters were too deep and too swift for them to maintain contact with him. At approximately 10:37 p.m., Special Agents with the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and local volunteer firefighters located King’s remains downstream.

In Hanover County, a firefighter died Thursday night when a tractor-trailer truck ran into a fire engine that had stopped to render aid at the scene of a storm-related accident. Firefighter Bradford Clark, 43, of Mechanicsville, Va., succumbed to his injuries at the scene. Two other firefighters were transported to VCU Medical Center for treatment of life-threatening injuries. A fourth firefighter suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene. The driver of the tractor-trailer, Lester Labarge, 49, of California, Md., was also transported for treatment of serious injuries. He has been charged with reckless driving and was cited for defective brakes.  The crash remains under investigation and additional charges are pending.
Two deaths have been reported by Danville city officials but details were not immediately available.

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Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.