- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 8, 2001

A morning rush-hour tractor-trailer collision and chemical spill shut down the Inner Loop of the Capital Beltway near Temple Hills for five hours yesterday.
All lanes were reopened by 1:30 p.m. after hazardous-materials crews had cleared the accident site south of St. Barnabas Road, Maryland State Police said. No one was injured in the wreck, and no problems were reported during the evening rush hour.
The collision occurred about 7:30 a.m., when a tractor-trailer ran into the rear of a United Parcel Service double trailer, state police said. Hazardous-materials crews were called in when a liquid was spotted leaking from the UPS truck, which was carrying sodium nitrate — a substance that can explode if mixed with other chemicals.
Crews from the Maryland Department of the Environment wore white protective suits, oxygen tanks and gas masks as they inspected the UPS truck's cargo and determined that the sodium nitrate containers were not leaking. They later determined that the leaking substance was a nonhazardous substance called DMFO, a type of liquid heat used by athletes.
The work crews cleaned up the approximately 100 square-foot spill in the left lane and sanded the pavement.
The UPS driver, Paul Viggiano, 44, of Springfield, Pa., was treated for minor injuries at the scene.
The second truck's driver, Leslie Johnson, 58, of Locust Grove, Va, also was treated for minor injuries, then charged with failure to control speed and driving with a suspended license and an out-of-date logbook, officials said. If convicted, Mr. Johnson faces up to $1,000 in fines and possible jail time. He was driving a truck for Dunkle Trucking of Fredericksburg, Va.
Police and fire officials directed traffic onto a one-lane off-ramp at Saint Barnabas Road while distributing water to emergency officials and motorists stuck in the jam on a day where temperatures reached the high 90s and Code Orange air-quality conditions. Vehicles backed up for miles trying to exit onto nearby St. Barnabas Road. At one point, traffic backed up to Route 50, officials said.
"We are doing everything we can," said Maj. Jorge Thompson of the Prince George's County fire department, who was on the scene. "Unfortunately, this had to happen on one of the hottest days. Hopefully, this will be wrapped up in a few hours."
The far right lane of the Inner Loop was reopened at 12:30 after traffic had been rerouted onto Route 414 and Route 210 (Indian Head Highway).

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