Whether you live or work in Maryland or over in the District of Columbia, if you are a driver you no doubt commute in the company of many different types of commercial vehicles, such as the smaller panel vans and contractor utility trucks all the way up to large box trucks, tanker vehicles and big rig 18-wheelers. As any motorist knows, at least innately, it’s that they never want to get into an accident with one of these larger motor vehicles for fear of the possibly extreme injuries and potential fatal consequences that a highway collision can entail.
As Maryland personal injury lawyers, I and my legal staff know the feeling of being “cornered” by a large commercial vehicle. While many passenger car accidents can leave the victims in very bad condition (with weeks, if not months of recovery ahead of them), tangling with a semi tractor-trailer can raise the odds of being critically injured or killed many times over. Add to that the possibility that the truck involved is carrying a flammable load or other dangerous cargo, well, the possible scenarios can be downright scary to even imagine.
Receiving severe injuries, such as head trauma, spinal damage, or complex internal injuries is nothing compared to being caught in a burning car with immobilizing injuries limiting one’s ability to escape. In such cases, all a person can do is hope for a Good Samaritan to put themself at risk or that emergency responders will arrive before it’s too late. Frankly, the thought of a car fire is too terrifying for most people to even consider. Throw into that mix a car carrying a family with young children and it could be an unfathomable tragedy beyond words.
Now, these kinds of traffic accidents don’t happen every day, but they do occur with sufficient frequency that one should always be aware of the potential, if only to avoid the conditions that might fuel an incident. Take a crash that happened in Cecil County a couple months back. In that situation, according to news reports at the time, an 18-wheeler semi carrying about 9,000 gallons liquid propane went out of control and crashed into a nearby residential complex in Port Deposit, MD, on a Wednesday faternoon. While nobody was killed as a result of the wreck, the driver was badly injured and dozens of people had to be evacuated from the immediate area.
Based on information from police, at about 1pm the truck was being driven along a stretch of Rte 276, just near the intersection of Jacob Tome Hwy, when the trucker at the wheel apparently lost control of the rig. The vehicle reportedly rolled onto its side and skidded into the Tome’s Landing waterfront complex. As a result of the mishap, every resident at the complex was told to leave the area and entry into the town was restricted, including rail service through the municipality.
News reports covering the incident sated that the driver apparently missed getting onto Interstate 95 and ended up on Rte 276, which includes a steep incline down into Port Deposit’s main intersection. During the descent on Center Street, the big rig reportedly lost its braking capability, causing the driver run through the intersection and eventually into the condo complex. In order to avoid driving into the Susquehanna River, the driver steered the vehicle to the left, which according to police caused the truck to roll onto its side.
Propane tanker crashes into Port Deposit condominium complex, town center closed off; BaltimoreSun.com; August 15, 2012