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Beltway Accident Causes Major Traffic Problems

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Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — There was a traffic nightmare Monday after a truck carrying construction equipment slammed into an overpass on one of the busiest highways in the region.

Derek Valcourt has more on the accident and the inspection to make sure that bridge is safe.

From Sky Eye Chopper 13, you could see the damage to the excavating backhoe that was riding on a flatbed truck along southbound 695 at about 1:30 p.m. Monday when it slammed into the I-95 south overpass.

“I heard a loud noise [and] saw the backhoe lift up off of the trailer,” said Rufus Charles.

Charles and his wife Patricia were driving in their car next to the truck when the crash happened.

Authorities say the backhoe bent at least one of the overpass beams and damaged the highway sign attached to the overpass. The impact sent pieces of metal flying into the roadway and snapped off one of the chains holding the backhoe in place. The chain then swung around and struck the car with Rufus and Patricia sitting inside.

“It’s nowhere to go. You are in a car. Your reflexes are, `Do I duck?’ What can you do? You’re in a seatbelt,” Patricia Charles said.

The Charles’ car only has minor damage: a nick in the front hood and a cap on the side mirror is missing. They say it could have been a lot worse.

“We’re blessed we’re not hurt. We really are. Thank God that even the driver that was driving the truck was not hurt either because that could have been really a bad, bad accident,” Patricia Charles said.

The Charles’ may count their blessings, but many drivers stuck in the resulting traffic didn’t feel so lucky. The crash left miles and miles of backups as authorities shut down two lanes of 695 southbound and two lanes of I-95 southbound while they removed the damaged sign and began to assess whether the overpass suffered any serious structural damage.

State police say charges are pending against the driver of that truck.

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