Accident snarls traffic on Interstate 70

June 08, 2007

BOONSBORO - An early morning accident on Interstate 70 near the Frederick County, Md., line played havoc with traffic all day Friday and into the evening.

Two tractor-trailers collided about 4:18 a.m. at the 37-mile marker in the South Mountain area, causing a corrosive chemical liquid to leak onto the roadway and into a drainage ditch, according to a Maryland State Police press release.

The accident happened when an Arnold Trucking tractor-trailer ran out of fuel as it traveled up South Mountain, troopers said. A second tractor-trailer, owned by Baylor Trucking, then hit the first-tractor-trailer from behind, troopers said.

The accident closed two of the three eastbound lanes of that section of the interstate. Traffic was backed up for at least four to five miles, an officer said Friday morning.


In a recorded phone message, Maryland State Police were directing drivers to take alternate routes. U.S. 40 was catching extra traffic through Hagerstown as motorists exited I-70, a Hagerstown police officer said Friday morning.

At 6 p.m. Friday, traffic had eased, but still was slow around the crash site.

At the Park-and-Ride lot near Exit 35 on Mapleville Road, a group of men on their way to a Christian retreat contemplated alternate routes. Several had been caught in the traffic earlier in the day and weren't enthusiastic about getting caught again.

Michael Dickerson of Hagerstown said he was on his way to an appointment in Frederick, Md., on Friday about 10 a.m. Traffic backed up on I-70 prompted him to try U.S. 40. But finding traffic backed up there as well, "I thought I would go up through Thurmont (Md.)," he said.

But his car overheated, so he pulled off the road again - and found a yard sale.

He bought a bicycle for his son - for $5 - got directions to a business in Thurmont where he could find coolant for his car, and called the person he had planned to meet in Frederick.

"I told him, 'I don't think the Lord wants us to meet today,'" Dickerson said.

Chuck Stanford's luck had been a little better. He left his home in Smithsburg and headed for I-70 about 6 a.m.

Traffic sent him to U.S. 40, but once he got past the crash site, traffic eased and he returned to the interstate.

The pace was "pretty slow until Myersville (Md.)" for William Jack, also of Smithsburg, who headed to his job in Frederick about 6:15 a.m. He also hopped off the interstate and took U.S. 40 until he got past the bottleneck.

Both eastbound lanes still were closed Friday at 9 p.m., Maryland State Police reported.

- Tamela Baker and Erin Julius

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