Most people realize that traffic accidents involving 18-wheel big rigs can cause massive traffic delays due to the shear size of these motor vehicles. But for the same reason that traffic can become inexorably snarled during rush hour, these over-the-road commercial trucks can cause extremely severe property damage and bodily harm.
As Maryland automobile accident lawyers and personal injury attorneys, I and my staff have the experience to know how a single, seemingly simple lapse in concentration or judgment can lead to a terrible highway wreck that could leave an individual or family with grave medical complications. No one should be surprised by the frequency of such accidents in and around cities like Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Hagerstown and Bowie.
Not long ago, Cumberland police and emergency services responded to the scene of a traffic collision along a stretch of interstate 68 where a semi driver apparently lost control of his rig and hit another vehicle, which then caused several other vehicles to be hit. While nobody died as a result of this particular tractor-trailer crash, there have been instances where motorists have been killed by such an event.
In this case, the crash occurred just before 5pm near Exit 43A on I-68 when a semi-tractor and trailer operated by 72-year-old Robert Guinn swerved from the center lane of the eastbound roadway and hit a 2006 Kia SUV in the left lane, sending that vehicle up and over the jersey barrier and into westbound traffic.
According to police at the time of the news article, investigators had not settled on a likely reason for why Guinn’s truck went out of control in the first place. Such events can sometimes be attributed to driver error, while at other times there could be a possibility of defective vehicle equipment, such as a damaged or malfunctioning steering component or a blown-out tire possibly resulting from improper maintenance.
The Kia, driven by 43-year-old Era Scarlett, came to rest on its side in the westbound lanes of I-68. Even then, damage from the errant semi was still being caused on the eastbound side of the highway; the tractor-trailer itself wound up on top of the jersey wall with portions of the vehicle ending up on both the east and westbound sides.
Two additional passenger cars — a 2000 Toyota driven by Steven Trader, 40, of Frostburg, MD, and another Toyota driven by a 41-year-old out-of-state woman ran over debris left in the wake of the semi’s collision with the barrier. This caused both vehicles to be disabled on the roadway.
Cumberland police and fire department personnel responding to the scene found seven persons with various injuries from the crash. Most of these injuries were likely just cuts and bruises, having been treated at the scene. However, three people were taken to Western Maryland Regional Medical Center for additional medical attention and further treatment.
The Allegany County Hazardous Materials Team was also called in to handle the spilled diesel fuel from Guinn’s semi. Cleanup took several hours and resulted in Interstate 68 being closed for closed for the duration as police investigators looked over the accident scene. Traffic was moving again by 8:30pm.
More Details of Tractor Trailer Accident, WCBCRadio.com, November 8. 2010