Crash tangles I-81

Dump truck, tractor-trailer collide in southbound lanes

Dump truck, tractor-trailer collide in southbound lanes

September 09, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

WASHINGTON COUNTY - A stretch of southbound Interstate 81 near Halfway Boulevard was closed for nearly eight hours Wednesday following a dump truck and a tractor-trailer crash that snarled traffic and led to several other accidents on Washington County's rain-soaked roads, Maryland State Police said Wednesday evening.

The traffic problems began at about 12:42 p.m., when a 1994 International dump truck driven by Herman Guy Wishard, 67, of Chambersburg, Pa., and a 2000 Volvo tractor-trailer driven by Patrick A. Sanders, 35, of Thurmont, Md., collided in the southbound lanes of I-81 near Halfway, police said.

Police said the northbound dump truck swerved to avoid slowing traffic, crossed the median and struck the tractor-trailer.

The tractor-trailer was forced onto its side, trapping Wishard inside temporarily, police said.

Police said both men were taken to Washington County Hospital for treatment.

A Washington County Hospital spokeswoman said Sanders and Wishard were treated and released.


Maryland State Police Cpl. T.J. McKenrick said other area roads, including U.S. 40, Md. 63 and U.S. 11, became clogged with traffic as motorists sought alternate routes. He said the high traffic volume on auxiliary roads and wet conditions contributed to more than 10 accidents Wednesday.

McKenrick said serious injuries were not reported in the other crashes.

"We've been tied up pretty much all day," McKenrick said. "There's been a lot of minor accidents."

McKenrick said the State Highway Administration opened one lane of southbound I-81 to traffic at about 8:15 p.m., although the tractor-trailer had not been removed from the road. The remaining lanes were opened almost one hour later, he said.

McKenrick said the closure was unusually lengthy.

"We like to see them cleaned up as fast as possible because of all the residual calls and traffic problems - It really ties up police services," he said.

State Highway Administration spokesman David Buck said the southbound lanes of I-81 could not be reopened until crews cleaned up the mess. The trailer was filled with groceries, and front end loaders were used to pick up the groceries and drop them in dump trucks, Buck said.

"It took a lot of time," Buck said. "It had groceries all over the place."

Buck said traffic was detoured from I-81 south to U.S. 40 west, then south on Md. 63, to the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 and then back to I-81 south.

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