I-83 bridge structurally safe after fiery pileup, officials say Series of 3 accidents leaves 1 person in hospital

August 31, 1996|By Robert A. Erlandson | Robert A. Erlandson,SUN STAFF

State Highway Administration road engineers examined the Interstate 83 bridge over the Gunpowder Falls near Hereford in the wake of Thursday afternoon's fiery pileup and found it structurally sound and safe, authorities said yesterday.

No one was killed and officials said one person remained hospitalized yesterday from the sequence of three accidents involving 14 northbound vehicles -- the biggest accident a crash on the bridge that produced a fireball and burned out many of them.

1st Sgt. Michael J. Fischer, supervisor of the state police accident reconstruction team, said the investigation is continuing and that no charges had been placed yet against any of the drivers.

Fischer said the first pileup, involving five vehicles, occurred when a tractor-trailer collided with cars that had slowed to pass a three-truck highway line-painting team north of the bridge.

The painting trucks were following procedures and showing the proper signals, and were not responsible for the accident, he said.

As traffic began to stop on the Gunpowder bridge because of the first accident, a tractor-trailer carrying rolls of steel and operated by Thomas F. McGoldrick, 59, of Yardley, Pa., did not slow down and struck another tractor-trailer that was in the slow lane, police said.

McGoldrick's truck then struck several other vehicles, triggering a chain reaction as the fire spread because of spilled fuel.

Seven vehicles were involved in the bridge collisions.

The third accident occurred on the approach to the bridge when a tractor-trailer hit the back of a minivan.

Pub Date: 8/31/96

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