State police warns people to use ‘extreme caution’ on interstate after increase in pedestrian deaths

Henrico County

HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) – Virginia State Police is urging people to use extreme caution if they find themselves as a pedestrian on the interstate.

The warning comes after a man from Manassas, Virginia was hit and killed on the interstate in Henrico County on Friday.

According to authorities, 33-year-old Fernando A. Leon-Guerrero of Manassas was traveling eastbound as a passenger in a Toyota sedan. The sedan broke down on I-64 and Guerrero got out to help push the sedan out of the travel lanes.

Leon-Guerrero was standing in the right lane when he was fatally struck by a Kenworth tractor-trailer. Troopers were dispatched to the scene at 9:47 p.m.

VSP Sergeant Dylan Davenport said DMV data shows 71 pedestrians lost their lives on Virginia roads between the beginning of 2021 and Sept. 15. Senior trooper Juan Rivera said it’s an increase in pedestrian deaths.

“They don’t understand that vehicles traveling at a high rate of speed are going to not be able to see them with enough time to be able to stop,” Rivera told 8News in an interview Monday. “We’d prefer that people do not walk on the interstates. Try to stay off major roads.”

If you need to get out of the car on the interstate, Rivera said it’s best to go to the shoulder, preferably on the other side of the guard rail or on the other side of a jersey wall.

If you cannot safely push your car out of travel lanes, Rivera suggests leaving your car where it’s at and prioritizing getting to safety.

“Forget about the car. The car can be replaced. A person’s life cannot be replaced,” he said.

The driver and passenger of the tractor trailer that hit Leon-Guerrero did stay on scene and cooperate with police. VSP continues to investigate.

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