Tractor-trailer overturns on JFX, spilling car batteries, diesel fuel

May 21, 2008|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,Sun reporter

The driver of a tractor-trailer hauling auto batteries escaped serious injury yesterday evening when the rig overturned and skidded at least 100 feet while heading north on the Jones Falls Expressway, spilling much of its cargo and fuel and disrupting traffic for several hours, authorities said.

The accident happened about 6:15 p.m. near the Northern Parkway exit.

Northbound traffic was prohibited from entering the expressway at its beginning at East Fayette Street to Northern Parkway for several hours, while workers from a contracting firm removed the batteries and placed them onto another tractor-trailer.

One sign that workers would be at the scene a long time was that at least one portable toilet was sent to the site, police said. Four hours after the crash, the northbound JFX was still closed.

A special tow truck was dispatched to right the rig and tow it away.

The driver, whose name was not released, managed to climb out of the tractor and was taken by ambulance to Sinai Hospital for evaluation of possible injuries, said Chief Kevin Cartwright, a Fire Department spokesman.

Shortly after the accident, northbound traffic was first put off onto the Cold Spring Lane exit ramp. Later, traffic was detoured onto the North Avenue ramp and finally at East Fayette Street downtown, the beginning of the northbound lanes, police said.

Southbound traffic was not seriously affected, police said.

The accident caused as least 40 gallons of diesel fuel from a saddle tank and acid from numerous batteries damaged in the crash to spill onto the ground, Cartwright said. He said firefighters and crews from the Maryland Department of the Environment cleaned up the spill, which did not affect the nearby Jones Falls.

The cause of the accident was being investigated by Northern District police.

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