NORFOLK, Va. — Police in Norfolk are asking drivers to avoid the area of East Little Creek Road and Van Patten Road due to a serious car crash where one man died.
Investigators said the crash happened at the intersection around 6:50 a.m. All lanes of East Little Creek Road are currently shut down at Van Patten. The traffic lights at the intersection were knocked down.
Police say the man was driving his truck in the wrong direction down East Little Creek Road. He was driving westbound in the eastbound lanes.
According to investigators, a man was driving his Nissan pick-up truck westbound in the eastbound lanes when his vehicle sideswiped another vehicle at the intersection of Tidewater Drive. The truck traveled down East Little Creek Road, where it ran off the road and struck several poles and a building at Southern Shopping Center.
He was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries but died shortly after he arrived. Police identified the man as 52-year-old Matt. G. Fritzinger. The driver of the car that was hit was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries and has since been released.
The driver of the other vehicle that was hit was treated and released at the hospital.
Investigators say speed appears to have been a contributing factor to this incident.
A witness tells 13News Now a car hit a utility pole and flipped over before catching fire.
Richard Neilsen lives just down the street from where the crash happened. He said he was standing outside his home and saw the whole thing.
“He was on two wheels, skidded over to the road, hit the pole, then he hit the building twice, flipped over, and landed in the middle of the street,” Neilsen said. “When we actually got to the vehicle, it caught on fire. I had a whole bunch of people that was behind me on the curb, watching what was going on and they started screaming and hollering that the truck was on fire, to 'Get away from it! Get away from it!'”
Neilsen said everyone was panicking, but he immediately knew what to do.
“I looked up and saw the flames and I panicked," he said. "So when I panicked, I thought about the fire extinguisher that we had here at the house so I took off running up the street to get the fire extinguisher.”
By the time he returned from his apartment complex with the fire extinguisher, Norfolk Fire-Rescue arrived and took over. Firefighters extinguished the flames and removed a man from the wreckage.
“They got him out the car and he was half-way in the middle of the road and then the medic ran up to him and checked him," Neilsen said. "I guess she seen that he was still breathing so when they seen that, they went to panic mode, threw him on the gurney and got him out of there super-fast.”
Investigators say speed was a contributing factor, but it's unknown if alcohol was involved as well.
Drivers are asked to use alternate routes and can expect to see detours.
According to Hampton Roads Transit, routes 3, 5, 8, 9, and 21 will see possible delays due to the crash scene.