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Minivan driver killed after crashing into school bus on Chippenham Parkway

Minivan driver killed after crashing into school bus on Chippenham Parkway
Posted at 8:24 AM, Jan 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-15 14:24:17-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- One person was killed in a Friday morning crash that involved a school bus, Virginia State Police spokesman Sgt. Steve Vick said. There were two separate crashes involving four vehicles.

Fatal crash on Chippenham Parkway (PHOTO: Neka Wallace)

Fatal crash on Chippenham Parkway (PHOTO: Neka Wallace)

When a Ford Tempo stopped along the side of Chippenham Parkway attempted to merge back into traffic, it was struck by a 2013 Chevy Impala and flipped, police said. A Chesterfield school bus driver traveling behind the accident stopped to avoid the crash, Vick said. A minivan traveling behind the unloaded school bus ran into the back of the school bus.

The driver of the Ford Windstar van, Chester A. Gabel, 53, of Chesterfield, died at the scene; he was not wearing a safety belt.  He was the only person in the minivan.

"I saw the school bus and then I saw the vehicle screech and slam into the back of the bus," witness Jennifer Jones said. "It must have been traveling at a really high speed. I looked down after I heard it hit and I was traveling about 50 miles per hour."

Jones, who said she had two children in her vehicle, was shaken by what she saw.

"I am so sad for this man," she said. "I would say that he only braked at about 100 feet away from the bus."

The accident happened at about 6:40 a.m. on Chippenham Parkway, near Hull Street/Route 360, in Chesterfield.

Fatal crash on Chippenham Parkway (PHOTO: Brendan King)

Fatal crash on Chippenham Parkway (PHOTO: Brendan King)

Two other people involved in the crashes were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. They all had their seatbelts on, police said.

The driver of the Chevrolet Impala, Wayne L. Booker, 60 of Richmond, was charged with "following too closely."

The right and center lanes of Chippenham Parkway north were closed near Hull Street/Route 360 due to the crash.

This is a developing story. Anyone with additional information can submit a news tip here.