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Drivers Stranded On Penn. Turnpike Due To Tar Spill

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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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.

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