Deadly crash on I-89 spawns secondary crash, traffic jam

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RICHMOND, Vt. (WCAX) One man was killed Friday morning in a collision on Interstate 89 in Richmond that tied up traffic for hours. And police believe alcohol, speed and inattention were factors in the crash.

Police say at about 7 a.m., a truck towing a trailer was headed south on I-89 with two people inside. The driver, Bruce Devenger, 48, of Sheffield, crossed the median and the truck went airborne and entered the northbound lane, where it crashed head-on into another truck.

Investigators say Devenger died at the hospital. His passenger, Michael O'Neil, 72, of Sheffield, was seriously injured and taken to the UVM Medical Center. The driver of the northbound truck, Kendall Roberts, 55, of Barre, was also rushed to the hospital with serious injuries.

Police say the crash is still under investigation, but they believe alcohol, speed and inattention were factors.

Both vehicles were totaled.

As crews worked to clean up the scene of that crash, things got even more complicated for first responders when a tractor-trailer in the southbound lane hit a passenger van going in the same direction.

Vermont state police warn drivers to pay close attention and drive with caution near crash scenes.

"I wasn't here for 30 seconds, and that's not hyperbole, literally 30 seconds before I saw a driver go by southbound holding up a cellphone while he was steering his vehicle, taking video of the northbound. That's just so unbelievably dangerous," said Adam Silverman, a spokesman for the Vermont State Police. "Handheld cellphone usage is illegal in Vermont already. It is even more dangerous and even more inadvisable when you are coming through an active scene."

Also at that crash scene, police say a parked trooper had to rapidly accelerate to avoid being rear-ended by a car that failed to slow down or move over. The driver was cited for careless and negligent driving.

All the lanes on the interstate have since reopened.