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Driver killed when truck plunges from Chesapeake Bay Bridge

Navy divers located the body of the driver after a tractor-trailer plunged into Chesapeake Bay from bridge.

By Frances Burns

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., May 15 (UPI) -- A truck driver was killed Thursday morning when his rig plunged from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel connecting Norfolk, Va., with the Eastern Shore.

Tom Anderson, a spokesman for the bridge, said the driver struck a maintenance truck and then skidded over the side. Divers from a Navy special warfare team that had been training in the area found the body and were trying to recover it, the Coast Guard said.

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The driver was heading north on the 23-mile bridge and tunnel system and was close to the northern end of the bridge when he apparently failed to spot a maintenance crew. He was trying to avoid a collision when he hit the truck and crashed through guardrails.

The northbound lanes were closed completely for about 30 minutes, and one lane was expected to be closed until Friday morning. Anderson said none of the maintenance workers were injured.

Debbie Cooley, a spokeswoman for the bridge-tunnel, said the truck was the 12th vehicle to go off the bridge portions of the system since it opened in 1964. She said that building a second span, which opened in 1999 to separate the north- and southbound lanes, appears to have made it somewhat safer.

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