Diesel spill, wreck slows traffic on I-70

September 26, 2004|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

HAGERSTOWN - Traffic moved at a snail's pace and the smell of diesel fuel filled the air Saturday morning following a diesel leak and accident on eastbound Interstate 70 near the Md. 65 exit.

A small stretch in the far left lane where the fuel spilled was closed to traffic for close to three hours.

Mark Anthony Deans of Middlesex, N.C., a driver for North Carolina-based J.R. Foster Trucking, was westbound on I-70 when he said he noticed the leak coming from his tractor-trailer.


"I looked in the rearview mirror and saw (the leak), he said. "I got off the road as soon as I could."

At that point, Maryland State Police Trooper Doug Bittinger said he believes the slippery fuel spill caused Lori Franklin of Hagerstown to lose control of the 1995 Pontiac she was driving.

Bittinger said Randy Franklin, also of Hagerstown, was a passenger in the vehicle.

"They lost traction, skidded into the center median and back across the roadway and struck the guardrail along the shoulder," Bittinger said.

Bittinger said Randy Franklin was taken to Washington County Hospital with back and neck injuries. He was treated and then released, a hospital spokesperson said.

Bittinger said Deans was cited for driving an unsafe vehicle.

"The tank fell out of its cradle and started dragging the ground, which caused a hole dropping about 70 or 80 gallons over a mile and half area," Bittinger said.

He also said the tank was not secured properly.

Members of the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. also assisted in containing the spill and the Maryland State Highway Administration covered the spill with sand to avoid further traffic incidents.

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