Two men were injured early this morning, one seriously, when a tanker truck carrying gasoline apparently rear-ended a flatbed truck near Queenstown in Queen Anne's County, causing an explosion that is expected to close U.S. 50 for hours.
The driver of the tanker, Vincent Thomas Bennett, 35, of %J Linthicum, was flown to the Shock-Trauma Unit in Baltimore with leg injuries, said Maryland State Police spokesman Chuck Jackson.
The driver of the flatbed truck, Theodore Ernest Drummond, 52, of Milford, Del., suffered an arm injury. He refused treatment, Jackson said.
The accident occurred at about 9:30 a.m. when Drummond pulled his flatbed truck into the slow lane of eastbound U.S. 50 about two miles east of the U.S. 50 and U.S. 301 split, 10 miles east of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Drummond's truck traveled about 100 yards before Bennett's tanker apparently rear-ended the truck, forcing both vehicles off the road, Jackson said.
Bennett managed to get out of his tanker and was found lying on the side of the road by two state troopers who were on their way to the funeral of a Maryland Toll Facilities officer killed last week in an accident. The troopers had just moved Bennett away from his tanker to await medical personnel when the vehicle exploded, Jackson said.
The tanker burst into flames, burning the truck and the trailer as ++ well as the flatbed, Jackson said. The explosion also sent gasoline spilling onto the roadway and forced the temporary evacuation of at least one residence and two businesses nearby. Charges are pending, Jackson said.
Overhead electric lines also were knocked down during the accident, causing a power outage in the area. It was not immediately known how many homes and businesses were affected.
Both eastbound and westbound lanes of U.S. 50 were closed and were expected to remain so throughout the evening rush hour as the cleanup and investigation continued.