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Wreck ties up I-70 for hours

May 04, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

SOUTH MOUNTAIN

A tractor-trailer carrying a load of dog food overturned Wednesday morning on Interstate 70 on South Mountain, just west of the Frederick County line.

The highway was closed in both directions for a short time about 9 a.m., and all lanes did not reopen until 3:30 p.m., causing traffic delays throughout the day.

A green Audi was driving east on I-70 when it struck a flatbed tow truck that was pulling another flatbed trailer, Maryland State Police said. The Audi bounced off the tow truck and into the path of the tractor-trailer, according to police.

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The tractor-trailer was in the middle lane when the Audi struck its front end and caused the tractor-trailer to jackknife across all three lanes of eastbound I-70, police said.

State Highway Administration spokesman Chuck Gischlar said the tractor-trailer was carrying a load of dog food, but the food did not spill on to the road.

One lane of westbound I-70 was closed soon after the crash to allow vehicles headed east to turn around and follow detours put in place by the SHA, Gischlar said. Traffic was rerouted on to Md. 66, through Smithsburg or Boonsboro, and U.S. 40, police said.

April Napoli, who lives on Md. 66, said she noticed heavy traffic on her way to Hagerstown Community College about 10:15 a.m. She said vehicles were lined up from the intersection of Md. 66 and U.S. 40 for about one mile.

On her way home from HCC, about noon, traffic was worse, Napoli said.

"At first I didn't think about going another way," she said.

Napoli said she thought the traffic would have cleared, but when she drove on Dual Highway toward the I-70 intersection, she saw vehicles lined up, starting at the westbound ramp.

"It was just a solid line of cars," she said.

Napoli said she decided to take Beaver Creek Road home to avoid the traffic.

I-70 eastbound was closed completely for more than two hours, police said. At that time, one lane was opened.

"We got the truck out of the way and the lanes open as quickly as we could and got people on and off of the detour route safely," Gischlar said.

All lanes, including both shoulders were reopened at 3:30 p.m., Gischlar said.

It took time for the bagged dog food to be taken out of the tractor-trailer, stacked along the road and placed into a different tractor-trailer that was sent by the dog food company, Gischlar said.

After that was completed, the tractor-trailer had to be righted and removed from the scene before I-70 east could be reopened, Gischlar said.

Police said the names of all three drivers were not available late Wednesday. The driver of the tractor-trailer was taken to Washington County Hospital with minor injuries, police said.

The investigation was continuing.

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