One person killed in I-81 accident

northbound lanes closed

January 30, 2012
  • The scene of a fatal accident on Interstate 81 north of Salem Avenue involved a tractor trailer and three vehicles on Monday afternoon.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

A Huntingdon, Pa., man was killed Monday afternoon on Interstate 81 when his northbound vehicle was struck by a tractor-trailer that left the southbound lanes, crossed the median and entered the northbound lanes just north of the Marshall Street and Maugansville Road interchange, according to Maryland State Police.

Leroy Corbin, 42, was on his way home from his job in Washington, D.C., when the four-vehicle collision occurred, Sgt. Stacey Cain said Monday night.

Both northbound lanes of I-81 were closed after the wreck, and traffic in and around Hagerstown was snarled into the night as northbound traffic was routed off the interstate at the Salem Avenue exit, Cain said. Northbound traffic was then routed to Cearfoss Pike, she said.

Hagerstown Police Department officers, fire police and state highway crews helped move traffic through congested areas, and some traffic signals were changed to yellow flashing mode while crews directed traffic, Cain said.

She said at 9:30 p.m. it was possible the interstate might remain closed until 11 p.m.

The tractor-trailer came to rest straddling a guardrail and was partially over an embankment along the interstate. Because of the truck’s load of 70,000 pounds of plastic, wrecker crews had to determine how to pull the truck back up to the interstate, Cain said.

Mark Siegrist, one of the motorists involved in the 2:59 p.m. wreck, described driving his Ford F-150 north when he saw the tractor-trailer crossing through the median.

“My foot was on the brake. I was like, ‘Please don’t hit,’” said Siegrist, who had just left his job at a Martin’s Potato Chips warehouse on Oak Ridge Drive and was heading home to Fayetteville, Pa.

“I’m just glad I’m walking away from this,” Siegrist said as he surveyed the front-end damage to his 2006 truck.

Corbin’s 2005 Toyota ended over an embankment below the tractor-trailer.

Siegrist told authorities he believed his truck hit the rear of the tractor-trailer, Cpl. Chris Barnard said. Barnard said he was not sure how the third vehicle — a Saturn VUE XE — became involved in the crash. The wrecked Saturn sat next to Siegrist’s truck.

Barnard said it was unclear what caused the tractor-trailer to go into the northbound lanes. Witnesses said the tractor-trailer was a “little erratic” when it was heading toward the northbound lanes, he said.

Benson Lewis, 62, of Dallas was the driver of the tractor-trailer, and his wife, Tammie, 44, was a passenger in the rig, Cain said. They were taken to Meritus Medical Center, but they did not suffer any major injuries, police said.

A female in the Saturn was taken to a hospital to be examined, Barnard said.

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