Neighbors remember postal employee killed in rollover crash on I-295

Henrico County

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Henrico residents remember Garland Bland Jr. as a man who loved his job, they say he went above and beyond as postal worker.

“We’re gonna miss him. He was a good guy. He was very professional. Always had a wave when he went by,” Chris Tetzlaff said. “He took good care of us.”

Neighbors also said that he loved to spread holiday cheer.

“Every holiday he would leave Christmas cards for us in the mailbox,” Tetzlaff said.

Last week Virginia State Police were investigating a rollover crash that left one postal employee dead.

It happened at about 6:15 p.m. on Interstate-295 north in Henrico County. 

Troopers say a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier truck driven by 41-year-old Garland R. Bland Jr., of North Chesterfield, was traveling on northbound I-295 in the center lane when he was struck by a Mazda 6, driven by 30-year-old Lauren E. Colognori, of Midlothian. 

Police say Colognori struck the mail carrier truck from behind, causing the truck the veer of the road and overturn.

Bland, who police say was not wearing a seat belt, was partially ejected from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Colognori was wearing her seat belt and was transported to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries. She was charged with reckless driving.  

“I heard the news about the accident. And then grew concern that it might’ve been him because I saw him making a delivery late in the afternoon that day,” Tetzlaff said.

USPS told 8News that an employee assistance program has been made available so that employees can use the resource as they deal with the loss of their colleague.

“We are all saddened by the news of this tragic accident and our thoughts and prayers are with the employee’s family. Representatives with the Postal Service’s Employee Assistance Program have been made available to the family and are on site to counsel employees as they deal with the loss of their colleague.”

8News spoke with Bland’s family and they are overwhelmed with grief.

Bland’s funeral will be Saturday, April 27 at 11 a.m. at Second Baptist Church on Broad Rock Boulevard.

It will be open to the community.

Editor’s note September 21, 2020: On September 16, 2020, Lauren Colognori was found not guilty of the reckless driving charge related to this accident.

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