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Woman Dies When Car Plunges Off Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.

A car has plunged off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in Virginia (VA), the first time such a crash has occurred on the structure in five years.

After a full day of looking by air, by boat and under water, searchers found the vehicle that plunged into the Chesapeake Bay and recovered the body of its driver inside the vehicle, the Virginian-Pilot reported. It's unclear what caused the driver, Jean Calcagno, 51, to drive her Toyota Avalon off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, police said. The victim was from Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA).

The accident earlier this month was the first time a vehicle has plunged off the bridge-tunnel since 2005. That year, two people died after driving into the Bay. One victim was a 50-year-old truck driver whose autopsy determined he may have had a heart attack, causing him to drive off the bridge in March 2005. The other was a 22-year-old man in an SUV who was speeding and plunged into the Bay on New Year's Eve.

But while it's unusual for vehicles to plunge off the structure, crashes are all too commonplace on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. The span is an impressive to travel between Virginia Beach and Accomack and Northampton counties on Virginia's Eastern Shore. But when crashes do occur on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel they can be severe. This iconic structure was expanded from two lanes - one north and one south on the same road bed - to two lanes on separate spans in both directions in 1999, the structure takes100 miles and more than two hours off the driving time between the Eastern Shore and Hampton Roads.

Tunnels and bridges present unique risks to drivers, from narrow lanes to extreme changes in visibility and lighting due to fog, mist and driving into and out of tunnel entrances and exits. Thwe sad reality is car and truck accidents are practically daily occurrences on the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel between Norfolk and Hampton, as an example. While they are slightly rarer on this less traveled structure, accidents on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel have often been severe.

DM

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