Trash truck overturns, keeps load in Howard

No one seriously injured in Columbia accident

April 20, 2004|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,SUN STAFF

The driver of a fully loaded trash truck couldn't slow down in time at a Columbia red light, veered off the road to avoid a car and overturned the truck in a grassy field yesterday morning, authorities said.

James Howard and two passengers, who climbed out through the driver's window after the truck turned over, were treated by paramedics at the scene but refused further medical attention after the 9:45 a.m. accident. The trash crew had finished its route in Columbia and was headed to a Jessup dump when the vehicle overturned. The truck, which is owned by AWW Inc. of Glen Burnie, tipped over near Cedar Lane and Owen Brown Road, Howard said.

Fully loaded, the truck weighed about 55,000 pounds, another AWW employee at the scene said.

Tire marks on Cedar Lane indicated that the truck skidded more than 50 feet. It then jumped the sidewalk, crashed through a wooden fence and rolled onto its right side, police said. None of the garbage spilled out.

"I hit brakes to avoid traffic and [turned to] the right, hoping the curb would slow me down," Howard said. "It sat there [on the curb] and rocked a couple times before it tipped over."

Initially, police were concerned that a pedestrian on the sidewalk might have been trapped underneath the large brown truck, which landed on its side down a short embankment.

Two large tow trucks righted the vehicle, and no one was found underneath.

Sgt. Lisa Myers said police investigators impounded the truck to conduct a vehicle safety inspection and an evaluation of its brakes.

The owner of the trash truck company, Joanie Warrener, who came to the accident scene, said she was "very relieved" that no one was seriously hurt. She said her company is one of several contractors that has residential trash pickup in Columbia.

Warrener said Howard was a good driver who "had never had this kind of accident" before.

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