Two young men extracted by rescuers from a car with Maryland license plates were airlifted to area medical centers just after 6 p.m. Monday, where both were reported Tuesday to be in critical but stable condition in the facilities’ intensive care units.
The driver of the car was identified by Virginia State Police Trooper Don Corbin as Hans Christian Shankle, 24, whose car is registered to a address in Hagerstown, Md., but who Corbin said has family in Sperryville. Shankle was transported by helicopter to University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville.
Corbin identified the passenger as Joseph Anthony Ruffner, whose age was not known, and whom Corbin said was believed to be living in Sperryville. A second helicopter took Ruffner to Winchester Medical Center.
The car, a 2005 Honda sedan, rolled over multiple times and wound up in the median of U.S. 211 at Beckwith Lane, just west of Rappahannock County High School; Corbin said he the investigation into the cause of the accident continues — and that excessive speed and erratic driving were reported by witnesses who saw the car just before the accident occurred, though none of those to whom he’d spoken had seen the actual crash. The car exited Old Hollow Road, according to one witness, without stopping at the stop sign there.
Corbin said tire marks showed that the vehicle was in the left lane heading east on the four-lane highway when it left the roadway and traveled some 600 feet over grass until it struck a drainage pipe, which caused it to roll over multiple times, coming to rest on its side.
No other vehicles were involved, Corbin said. In addition to speed, he said, alcohol may be a factor in the wreck.
Volunteer responders from Washington, Sperryville Fire, Sperryville Rescue and Amissville companies worked for close to 45 minutes to extract the passenger and then the driver from the vehicle, while a crew from Flint Hill Fire and Rescue set up the landing zone for the helicopters at the high school.