Drivers Stranded On Penn. Turnpike Due To Tar Spill

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Hundreds of drivers are stranded on one of the busiest travel days of the year, all because of a spill on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. And a Maryland company is to blame for the tanker that leaked that sticky tar.

Mike Hellgren reports, some cars are damaged beyond repair.

The driver of that tanker is from Glen Burnie, and he could face charges in Pennsylvania.

Gallons of driveway sealant from a leaking valve on that tanker poured out over 40 miles on the Pennsylvania Turnpike creating a dark, gooey, dangerous mess, coating tires, and leaving some cars undriveable.

“I have never been so damn scared with my wife in my life before,” said Bob King, who was stuck in the tar. “We had no idea if we were going to get hit by other vehicles.”

“It was like the car was on ice,” Bob King’s wife Anne King explained. “It was so slippery.”

“Then it got to the point where we felt like with all this tar and everything underneath it, it was shaking the car pretty much like you were in an earthquake,” Bob King said.

Police say Marino Transportation Services, based in Stephensville on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, runs the tanker. Their insurance company, Travelers, is now handling the damage claims.

A Marino representative told WJZ they’re investigating the cause and working with authorities.

“You drove through it, you felt some rough spot bumping through there,” said traveler Tom Jungling. “But then as soon as it started to harden up on your tire, you could feel the thudding. You thought you had a flat tire.”

“This is just unacceptable,” said Kenneth Miller, whose car was damaged due to the spill. “They should have shut the freeway down. I mean, it don’t come off easy. I don’t even know how I’m going to get where I’m supposed to go.”

According to published reports, the driver could face charges for failing to secure the load.

Turnpike authorities used plows to scrape it off the pavement. The road is back open but the mess already ruined lots of Thanksgiving plans.

In many cases, the damaged cars have to have their tires sliced off.

If your car was damaged, you should call travelers insurance at 1-800-238-6225. For more information, click here.

More from Mike Hellgren
  • lisa

    You can’t remove that tar from your car it is there to stay. Sure cut the tires off, but what about all the gunk now imbedded in the undercarriage and paint? It is not going to come off and owners will experience tar related breakdown as long as they own the car. Total them now and do not resell them to unsuspecting people.

  • moleman

    The trucking com should be fined up the wazoo & the drivers of many of the rigs have an education & I.Q. of a 3rd grader the way they aggressively drive. I know as I was an over the road driver years ago….These beltway morons that drive in the left lane blocking traffic & tailgaiting should be slapped with a personal $1k fine for starters. In Michigan trucks are not allowed in the left lane on interstates.

    • Wheres common sense when you need it

      For someone who drove over the road, you sound like an idi@t. I think the first thing that needs to be done is an investgation as to why the spill happened. Could it have been the drivers fault? Yes it could. But, the valve on the trailer could have failed internally and caused the spill and the driver would have never known. Someone could have also opened the valve while the driver was stopped and again he would have never known. Other drivers messing with peoples trucks and loads happen all the time and if you had any real experience driving you would know that too. As far as the way some of these drivers drive, I do agree that there are ones out there that drive like maniacs. But this is true with all people and the way they drive. The left lane was put there for a reason and that is to pass slower traffic and then move back to the right. Banning trucks from the left lane does nothing but create a nightmare for the drivers who are professional and a cash cow for state coffers. Sometimes things go wrong and it really isn’t anyones “fault”. Thats what insurance is for. To run a company and the people into the ground because of it and you now know why this country has no jobs and no businesses that want to hire. I get tired of the “Everyone wants to get PAID” atittude!

      • decipher

        apparentley he;s mad cause he;s only got a 4th grade ed.. nighttime,raining,agree
        driver didn;t know what,1 bad apple ,don;t make all bad, puzzled though why it took
        so long to stop& realize situation. got 31yrs trucking/tanker+ and yea it ain;t goina be easy to get those vehicles clean, it is possible. agree,there are many idiot truck
        drivers,you want it in stores,nice roads,gas for your vehicles,etc, try to see the
        responsibility to serve you and maintain his or her own life , to drive these big trucks it ain;t easy, but we survive…

  • JJ

    WOW if I were the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, I would be thankfull for a free sealing. Its not like the road is the best out there!!

  • harold

    The reason truckers are banned from driving in the left lanes on interstate in Mich is because some iron heads stay there thus creating a traffic hazzard with three abreast & actually running up & over small vehicles who are defeneless. These drivers still today juggle their log books & cook the other books that the transport co have towards safety. Just look at the greedy pricks that own Gunthers trans. in Md & one son who operates another alias. Do away with the gypsy drivers for good & the non union co’s.

  • suxiao

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