A tractor-trailer driver was seriously injured today when his rig ran off northbound Interstate 95 near Joppa in Harford County and rammed the rear of another truck, causing both vehicles to burst into flames, State Police said.
One truck was loaded with Jim Beam whiskey and the other with cantaloupes.
The driver who ran off the road, Louis D. Tibbs, 54, of Baltimore, was flown by State Police Medevac helicopter to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.
A hospital spokesman said Mr. Tibbs was in serious but stable condition.
Trooper Eric C. Harbold, of the JFK Barracks, said the accident occurred about 3:20 a.m. when a rig loaded with cantaloupes left the road for an unknown reason and struck the rear of another tractor-trailer, loaded with whiskey.
The whiskey-carrying truck was illegally parked along the shoulder of I-95 at Mountain Road, the trooper said.
The impact caused both rigs to burst into flames.
A trooper several miles from the crash saw the flames and smoke and responded to the scene.
Only the tractor portion of the whiskey truck was salvaged, police said.
The driver of the parked tractor-trailer, Robert R. Hensley, 58, of Mount Airy, N.C., was charged with parking on the shoulder of a controlled access road, Trooper Harbold said.
Whiskey bottles and boxes of cantaloupes were strewn around the area.
The trooper said only those motorists in the immediate vicinity experienced lengthy delays caused by the accident.
A new "chart plan" formulated with the State Highway Administration allows for immediate detour plans once an accident occurs on the major interstate highway, he said.
The highway administration dispatches vehicles with digital display signs to direct motorists. A special radio frequency also is provided for motorists to give quick reports on traffic movement and detours.
Police said northbound I-95 traffic was detoured onto Md. 43 to Pulaski Highway, then north to Md. 24 and back to I-95.