NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A woman and four children have been hospitalized after a multi-vehicle crash in the southbound lanes of the Monitor Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel.

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According to Virginia State Police, the three-vehicle crash happened around 6:15 p.m. in the southbound lanes of Interstate 664 inside the tunnel.

The preliminary investigation revealed that a Dodge Durango, with a woman and four children, was traveling at a high rate of speed in the left lane of the south tunnel. As the woman attempted to change lanes around a Mercedes, she hit the back of a tow truck, police said. As a result of the crash, the front passenger door was ripped off.

Her Dodge was then pushed back into the front of the Mercedes. Her vehicle bounced back and forth against the tunnel wall for about 70 yards. Police said the driver was not wearing a seatbelt and she was ejected out the door.

Suffolk resident, Josh Cheaney, says he was the tow truck driver involved and was out on a debris run at the time.

“I heard a loud screech and bump, the impact pushed me maybe another 30 feet as she went by me,” said Cheaney.

Cheaney says he hopped out of his car and tried to help her.

“I ripped one of my hoodies off and tried to wrap it around her because she had a giant gash on the right side of her forehead…I started hearing screaming, I looked behind me and that’s when I noticed there were three kids standing next to the vehicle,” said Cheaney.

Cheaney says he also noticed an infant and dog still in the car and before he knew it, the woman was off the ground headed their way.

“She lost a good amount of blood. The will to make sure her children were okay, that’s all she cared about. She kept yelling to them, ‘I’m coming I’m coming,’ I just pray she’s okay,” Cheaney said emotionally.

The woman was transported to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital with life-threatening injuries. All four children in the vehicle were also hospitalized.

He says he hopes this is a wake-up call for drivers to slow down and pay attention to the roads. Especially in icy conditions.

The investigation is ongoing.

10 On Your Side is working to learn more.