PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Virginia State Police police said charges are pending after a crash that involved 16 vehicles this past weekend inside the Downtown Tunnel.
Virginia State Police said the crash happened just before 1 a.m. Sunday in the eastbound lanes of I-264, from Portsmouth to Norfolk. Investigators say one car was speeding, when its bumper fell off, causing other drivers to slam on their brakes. That caused a chain reaction.
No one was seriously hurt, but three people did go to the hospital for treatment.
11 vehicles had to be towed out of the tunnel and it took three hours to clear the scene. During that time people were hanging out inside the tunnel, a video of the incident reviewed by WAVY shows.
State police say the majority of the vehicles involved were part of a car club that were previously in Portsmouth prior to the crash. Many of them were traveling “at a high rate of speed.”
State police added that they are now investigating and sorting through the recorded videos provided by the Elizabeth Rivers Crossing Agency and that “multiple charges” are currently pending.
WAVY News 10 spoke with a woman who said some of the same people on the crash scene were involved in an incident outside her Portsmouth business a short while prior.
On surveillance video captured outside Bob Ewell Auto Service on Constitution Avenue, you can hear what sounds like gunfire, then see people running, followed by the sound of squealing tires.
The owners of the business told 10 On Your Side’s Michelle Wolf that reckless behavior happens every weekend. On Monday mornings, they often pick up empty beer bottles, condoms and other garbage around their property. Every few weeks, they find bullet holes through windows and doors.
“I think it’s largely performative. They just seem to do donuts in the middle of the street,” said Daniel Gilmore of Bob Ewell Tire.
Gilmore pointed out more than 10 holes in his door from stray bullets. He’s lost count of the ones that are new and just finished patching up a new hole in one of his windows. He’s also added more security cameras inside and outside his shop.
“It gives you a deep sense of impermanence. You don’t know from one day to the next if your business is going to be harmed, yourself, or your employees,” Gilmore explained.
Not long after sharing their surveillance video on social media, they got a tip that some people in their video match people involved in the downtown tunnel crash a few hours later.
“We noticed the car was the same and at least two of the people were the same and by that point, we were contacted by Virginia State Police and the City of Portsmouth. The chief of police came down here today and said they were on top of the situation and going to identify who the perpetrators were and put a stop to it,” Gilmore stated.
Portsmouth Police confirmed to WAVY that they are investigating this incident, will be increasing patrols on the weekends and will crack down on trespassers.