- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 7, 2001

MIDDLETOWN, Md. Police reopened Interstate 70 to traffic early yesterday, hours after a tractor-trailer carrying eight unarmed Navy SLAM-ER missiles ran off the road and overturned.
The missiles did not spill from the truck, which careened down an embankment and landed on its side in a ditch alongside eastbound I-70 at about 8:45 a.m. Friday. Neither the truck's driver, Danny L. Harkey, 49, of Joplin, Mo., nor his passenger, Daniel C. King, 39, of Flower Mound, Texas, was injured. Mr. Harkey was charged with negligent driving after police inspected the vehicle after the crash.
Meanwhile, authorities say this isn't the first time the trucking company has had an accident that involved military hardware or explosives.
Mr. Harkey and Mr. King worked for Joplin, Mo.-based Tri-State Motor Transit, a company that moves more than 25 percent of the military munitions transported nationwide, according to Fleet Owner, a trucking industry trade publication.
The company also owns a tractor-trailer that overturned Thursday night near St. Albans, W.Va., while carrying 42,000 pounds of military explosive powder.
The unidentified and uninjured driver in that incident lost control of the truck during a coughing fit after taking a sip of coffee, West Virginia state police Capt. A.M. Sovastion said.
In November 2000, Tri-State drivers hauling a nuclear-waste shipment missed a turn on the way to a U.S. Department of Energy nuclear dump near Carlsbad, N.M., and went 27 miles in the wrong direction. The company was suspended for two months from such shipments.
Tri-State's parent company, Trism Secured Transportation, is also based in Joplin.
Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening, a Democrat, said he is concerned that neither the shipping contractor nor the military notified Maryland authorities that they were transporting missiles across the state.
"As soon as the materiel is moved, I'm going to ask in the strongest terms why we weren't notified," Mr. Glendening said.
The truck carrying the missiles was going through a construction zone when the driver hit the side wall of a bridge, causing his load to shift and the truck to flip over, state police Sgt. T.O. Rouse said.
The SLAM-ER missile is among the weapons the United States could use to attack terrorist sites in Afghanistan, said a Pentagon spokesman.
Alan Williams, a member of a Maryland Department of the Environment hazardous response team, said each missile was loaded with rocket fuel and stored in an individual container, but not armed.
Don Lumpkins of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency said none of the rocket fuel on the missiles or diesel fuel on the truck leaked.
Following the accident, police shut down I-70 in both directions, routing traffic through West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide