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State police say deer strike started events in fatal Nelson County crash.

Virginia State Police say a deer strike led to the deadly chain of events on a Christmas Eve traffic crash on U.S. 29 that claimed the life of an 8-year-old North Carolina girl and that investigations continue to consider whether to press charges against the driver of a tractor-trailer that struck the vehicle.

The crash occurred around 6 p.m. on Dec. 24 when a northbound 2012 Honda minivan driven by Michael E. Mack, 44, of Taylorsville, North Carolina slammed into a deer while driving on U.S. 29 in Nelson County, a few hundred feet south of Rockfish River Road. The speed limit on the road is 60 miles per hour, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

State Police Trooper L.G. Pingley said his preliminary investigation shows that the minivan came to an abrupt stop after hitting the deer. He said a tractor-trailer driven by Hugh D. Powell, 62, of New Britain, Connecticut, that was hauling 42,000 pounds of paper and driving behind the minivan, was unable to stop in time and struck the minivan.

The 8-year-old girl, who was wearing a seatbelt, was taken to University of Virginia Medical Center. She died of her injuries on Christmas Day.

Mack was treated at a hospital for minor injuries as was passenger Shelly K. Mack, 44, of Taylorsville, North Carolina. Both were wearing seatbelts.

Two other children in the Mack minivan were also injured, including a 4-year-old boy who was secured in a child safety seat and was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of serious injuries.

A 6-year-old boy, also in a booster seat, was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

Powell, the driver of the tractor-trailer, was treated at the scene for minor injuries. He was also wearing a seatbelt.

State police declined to release the name of the juveniles because state law prohibits them from identify a juvenile victim of a crime and because the investigation has not been completed and charges may yet be filed.


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