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Spotsylvania woman killed, 4 hurt in crash on I-95

RELATED: See more crime news from the Fredericksburg region


A Spotsylvania woman was killed and four family members were injured early Wednesday after their vehicle was struck by a wrong-way driver on Interstate 95 in Caroline County, state police said.

Lucia Chavez, 48, of the 1000 block of Dewberry Drive in Spotsylvania, died at the scene, said Virginia State Police Sgt. Thomas Molnar. She was a backseat passenger.

Valerie F. Gorham, 51, of Silver Springs, Md., faces charges including involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence, Molnar said.

He said the two-vehicle collision occurred around 1:15 a.m., in the northbound lanes of I–95 near Ladysmith.

Molnar said Chavez and four relatives were heading north in the center travel lane in a 1998 Nissan Sentra. It was struck by a 2003 BMW X–5 traveling south in the northbound lanes. Chavez was seated behind the driver, he said.

The 19-year-old driver of the Nissan and her three other passengers, all of the Fredericksburg area, sustained serious, non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to a local hospital, Molnar said. Gorham was not seriously injured but was transported to the hospital, he said.

After consultation with the Caroline County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Gorham was charged with one felony count of involuntary manslaughter/driving under the influence, and four counts of maiming/driving under the influence.

Molnar said she will be transported to Pamunkey Regional Jail after she is released from the hospital.

The center and right lanes of I–95 northbound were closed for five hours at the crash scene south of the 108 mile marker. That’s two miles from the nearest interchange.

There was a two-mile backup as a result of the lane closures to allow for the investigation. The Virginia State Police Division I Accident Reconstruction Team assisted with the investigation, Molnar said.

All lanes reopened shortly after 6:30 a.m., he said.

Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419