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Truck wreck scatters debris on I-81

February 15, 1999

i-81 accidentBy DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer




MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A trailer from a tractor-trailer rig overturned on Interstate 81 Monday morning, scattering a load of car parts, including air bag components and axles, along the freeway, emergency workers said.

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Jerry Frank Myers, 57, was driving the Roadway tractor-trailer north of the Tablers Station Road exit at about 10 a.m. when one of two trailers he was pulling began drifting to the right, police said.

Myers tried to correct the trailer, but it weaved in the lane and fell over.

The trailer hit a guard rail, which ripped it open and caused the car parts to scatter along the shoulder of the interstate and over an embankment.

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"He said he didn't hit the brakes. I could see that," said state police Trooper J. L. Folk.

The trailer mangled about 200 feet of guard rail before coming to a stop.

A state Division of Highways loader scooped the car parts from along the interstate and put them in a dump truck.

The cab and the first trailer did not overturn, and Myers was able to pull over safely after the accident.

The first trailer contained two 55-gallon drums of organic peroxide, which is used in pharmaceutical products and fertilizers, said Steve Allen, director of the Berkeley County Office of Emergency Services.

Allen said double-trailer trucks are harder to control than single-trailer rigs. In the Midwest, some trucks are pulling three or four trailers at a time, said Allen.

John Skaggs, a motor carrier enforcement officer with the state Public Service Commission, agreed the dual trailers are harder to drive.

"You make one bobble with them and they're usually gone," said Skaggs.

Myers, of Morristown, Tenn., said he was taking the car parts to a Roadway terminal in Hagerstown.

Traffic on the interstate was delayed about two hours while workers cleaned up the crash site, police said.

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