The westbound Beltway between Falls Road and Greenspring Avenue was reopened to traffic early today after it was closed for almost six hours when a potentially dangerous liquid cleaning agent spilled from a truck onto the roadway.
The incident caused a major traffic jam and injuries to three people when two cars in the eastbound lanes collided as motorists slowed down to watch, State Police at the Security Barracks said.
Darlene Foy, 24, of Towson, was airlifted to the Shock-Trauma Unit in Baltimore, where she was listed today in fair and stable condition. Marvis Williams, 58, and Heather Sparrow, 70, both of Baltimore, were taken by ambulance to the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, where they were treated in the emergency room and released.
Chuck Jackson, a State Police spokesman, said William J. Doyle Jr., 36, a driver for Webco Transportation in Dudley, Mass., was westbound on Interstate 695 about 9:35 p.m. when he became aware that chemicals he was hauling were leaking from his truck.
Jackson said Doyle, who was on his way to South Carolina, pulled his 18-wheel Kenworth tractor-trailer onto the right shoulder and set out emergency markers.
A few minutes later, Trooper Sandy Skinner arrived and learned that one of the three 295-gallon tanks of potassium hydroxide was leaking. She requested other police units to stop westbound traffic at Falls Road and set up detours.
Emergency apparatus from stations in Baltimore County and the hazardous materials unit responded.
As firefighters and hazardous materials personnel worked to find the leaking tank, traffic quickly backed up beyond York Road.
Jackson said the leak was traced and plugged and arrangements were made to remove the three tanks plus another 59 55-gallon drums of a flammable chemical used in processing wood pulp.
Doyle, the truck driver, was exposed to the leaking chemical. After his arms were hosed down at the scene, he was taken by ambulance to Sinai Hospital, where he was treated and released, Jackson said. Skinner also was exposed and ordered to go home and wash off any residue.
The State Police commercial vehicle enforcement division inspected Doyle's truck but found no mechanical or administrative violations, police said. Doyle returned to the scene after being treated at Sinai Hospital and was allowed to continue on to his destination.
Traffic was detoured onto southbound Falls Road to Old Court Road, then west on Old Court to Greenspring Avenue and north to the Beltway.
The westbound lanes were re-opened about 3:35 a.m. today, police said.