- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 25, 2006

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A container truck carrying tanks of a chlorine cleaning solvent overturned on the Capital Beltway yesterday, snarling traffic for miles during the afternoon rush hour.

The accident occurred about 1:50 p.m. on the Outer Loop between New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard. No other vehicles were involved in the crash, said Pete Piringer, a Montgomery County Fire Department spokesman.

“It hit a retaining wall and rolled,” Mr. Piringer said.

The truck’s driver was taken to Suburban Hospital in Bethesda with life-threatening injuries, Mr. Piringer said.

The truck was a type of “pool-cleaning company” vehicle, said First Sgt. Russell Newell with the Maryland State Police, and was carrying three 100-gallon tanks of a cleaning solvent.

One of the tanks ruptured when the truck overturned, Sgt. Newell said.

Hazardous material crews from Montgomery and Prince George’s counties responded to the scene, as well as workers from the Maryland Department of the Environment and a cleanup contractor.

Officials closed down all lanes of the Beltway while crews worked to identify the chemical and clean up the spill.

Lanes on the Inner Loop reopened at 3 p.m., and officials said Outer Loop lanes were opened shortly before 4:30 p.m.

“The roads have reopened, but traffic is backed up to Virginia on the Inner Loop and on the Outer Loop I don’t know how far back,” said John McDonough, a dispatcher with the state police’s Rockville barrack. “That goes into PG County.”

Officials said delays on the Inner Loop as far back to the American Legion Bridge are typical during the afternoon rush hour, but were exacerbated by yesterday’s crash.

“It’s solid all the way, it’s obvious it’s because of the accident,” Mr. McDonough said.

Sgt. Newell said state police would be investigating the cause of the crash.

Gary Emerling

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