Accident in Fort McHenry tunnel leaves one hurt, blocks traffic

April 20, 2001|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,SUN STAFF

A chain-reaction accident injured one person and caused a truck to catch fire inside one of the southbound Fort McHenry tunnels during yesterday evening's rush hour.

The accident caused a 1 1/2 -mile backup southbound and delayed motorists for nearly 40 minutes, according to Maryland Transportation Authority Police.

The identity and condition of the injured person was not available.

Lori Vidil, transportation authority spokeswoman, said a Toyota Corolla became disabled less than a half-mile into the 1.8-mile-long tunnel about 6:45 p.m. and was struck from behind by a stake-body truck, which was hit by a Honda Civic. Vidil said the Honda was struck by a Chevrolet pickup truck, which was hit by a tractor-trailer.

The stake-body truck caught fire. Vidil said the tunnel's ventilation system quickly removed the smoke and city firefighters extinguished the blaze.

Cpl. Greg Prioleau, a spokesman for the transportation authority police, said vehicles behind the accident were directed to back out of the tunnel. He said traffic heading into the adjacent southbound tunnel was halted so that fire vehicles and ambulances could approach from the north and south.

Shortly after 7:20 p.m., southbound traffic was allowed through the unaffected tunnel, Vidil said. The accident is being investigated.

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