A truck driver was killed in Glen Burnie yesterday evening when his gasoline tanker crashed and burst into flames after it failed to negotiate a curve on an entry ramp to the Beltway, state police said.
Witnesses traveling behind the tanker told state police that the truck, which carried 8,700 gallons of gasoline, was speeding as it entered the ramp connecting north Route 10 with the Beltway at 5:15 p.m., said Trooper Beverly A. Bauer of the Glen Burnie barracks.
The driver, Tyrone Matthew Hudson, 44, of Woodlawn, an employee of Baltimore Tank Lines Inc. in Glen Burnie, apparently lost control of the truck as it rounded the curve. It jackknifed, flipped over and rolled several times.
As the truck rolled, the tank ruptured and exploded, the wreckage erupted in flames and black columns of smoke billowed into the sky, visible for miles. The driver was crushed by the weight of the truck, Trooper Bauer said. Witnesses told police they could not approach the wreckage because of the intense heat.
"It was too late," Trooper Bauer said. "Once it flipped over it was fully engulfed. No one could even get close to it."
Thirty-three Anne Arundel County firefighters responded to the blaze, but after putting out the fire in the truck's cab, they decided to let the wreckage burn, said Battalion Chief John F. Dull.
"If we put it out, then we have other problems to deal with," including spreading the gasoline off the road onto the adjacent ground, Chief Dull said. But if they let it burn, "there are no problems with the environment, no leaks," he said. "The damage that could be done has been done. It's to our advantage to let it burn."
Police said the truck was traveling from Curtis Bay to make deliveries of Amoco gasoline in downtown Baltimore.
The fire, which burned out by 8:30 p.m., attracted more than 100 spectators who lined a chain-link fence along the Beltway.
The accident caused problems for rush-hour commuters. Although traffic was shut down on both loops of the beltway for less than 30 minutes, the inner loop remained closed between Route 10 and Ritchie Highway for several hours while the truck burned and traffic was detoured around the crash site.