BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A crash involving dozens of vehicles and a tractor-trailer shut down Interstate 95 in South Baltimore Saturday morning. Emergency Management calls this the worst accident in Baltimore’s recent history, considering the sheer number of people involved.
Maryland Department of Transportation says 67 vehicles and one tanker were involved in the crash near the exit for Washington Boulevard on I-95 North just before 5 a.m. Authorities say the tanker went off the bridge and fell down to the street below.
At least two people were killed and dozens were injured in the icy pileup–at least seven of those seriously.
Roads are now open, but cleanup is still far from over.
One man, caught the incident on tape as it happened. Marvellous Amasiatu pulled over on I-95 and watched it all happen.
“It’s just… heartbreaking,” he says.
Amasiatu called 911 and shot a video as cars and semis drove through an inferno.
“That was very, very traumatizing for me. Just able to shoot video and can’t reach out to help,” he says.
Two people have died. One was the driver of the tractor-trailer. Semis, cars and trucks stretched for more than half a mile on I-95 in the aftermath.
“It’s a miracle more people weren’t hurt or killed,” says Baltimore City Office of Emergency Management Director, Bob Maloney.
University of Maryland Medical Center has reported they are caring for a total of 23 patients from this crash.
Michael Schwartzberg, Media Relations Director at Maryland Medical Center says 16 people are being treated in UMMC’s Emergency Department for a range of injuries including broken bones, cuts and bruises and lacerations.
He says seven patients are being cared for at Shock Trauma–four are critical, two serious and one fair. The patients are being treated for injuries including head trauma and broken bones.
Traffic was at a standstill for hours while crews assessed the situation.
“People were helping people out of cars, who weren’t involved in the accident. There was one gentleman who I saw earlier who had his hands cut, bandaged, he was in the wreckage pulling people out,” says Maloney.
Crews from Howard County and Baltimore County were called to the scene to help.
“The coordination between the first responders and the civilians on the scene was nothing short of remarkable,” he says.
Cleanup started fast. Forklifts scooped up crunched cars, lining them along the shoulder to clear the roadway. Still, stranded travelers waited, while about a dozen tow trucks waited for hours on the exit ramp for their turn to help clean up the mangled cars still left on the highway.
“Nothing surprises me about people from Baltimore. Time and time again, when we all need to pull together, we do, and that’s what happened today,” says Maloney.
The Maryland Department of Transportation says all lanes of I-95 in both directions are now open. The I-695 detour has also been lifted.
Additionally, the Department of the Environment responded to the incident to deal with potential issues related to cargo on the tanker truck. The Maryland Department of Environment working to clean up fuel believe to be gasoline — that spilled from the burning tanker into the soil.
“It’s apparent that there was some amount of fuel in the tanker because it got into the water and went downstream toward Carroll Manor Golf Course, where we had some fires,” says Maloney.
What was left of the charred tanker was hauled away late Saturday afternoon as the investigation continued.
“Obviously investigators are going to be days and possibly weeks and months to determine the cause of the crash,” says Lt. Kevin Ayd, Maryland Transportation Authority.
Both Governor Larry Hogan and Mayor Catherine Pugh made statements about the collision.
Larry Hogan’s statement on the crash:
“The First Lady and I send our deepest condolences and prayers to the families and loved ones of the individuals who lost their lives early this morning as a result of fatal accidents. Our state’s entire emergency management, transportation, and law enforcement resources are fully engaged in managing this situation and are working closely with local jurisdictions to provide needed support. I offer my sincerest gratitude to the state and local first responders who are working diligently at the scene of these incidents and who will continue to do so until the roadways are clear.”
Mayor Catherine Pugh gave a statement on the incident:
“I want to share my deepest condolences to those affected by this morning’s multi-vehicle crash. Today’s icy road conditions remind us all that it is imperative to exercise extreme caution due to severe weather. I want to thank the emergency crews for their expedient response. They continue to work closely with City agencies to render aid and coordinate efforts to stabilize road conditions for motorists. For the latest updates and information, please follow the Baltimore City Department of Transportation. We ask that residents delay travel if possible.”
A hotline has been opened for those looking for information about family that may have been involved in the incident. Call 1-888-756-7836.
Maryland State Police say the have responded to 330 crashes in the last 24 hours.