SILVER SPRING, Md. (WUSA9) -- A frightening crash involving a Maryland State Police Trooper shut down the Outer Loop of the Capital Beltway in Silver Spring for more than 5 hours Monday morning.
According to Maryland State Police, a trooper had a vehicle pulled over on the Outer Loop near Colesville Road when a tractor trailer sideswiped the cruiser and the stopped vehicle around 2:03 a.m. The tractor trailer continued to travel approximately 100 yards down the road where it jack-knifed across several lanes. The collision ruptured one of the truck's saddle tanks, causing a major fuel spill at the scene.
State police say the Trooper T. Flowers-Jackson of the Rockville barrack, and the driver, 39-year-old Adwoa Hendricks of Springfield, Virginia were taken to a local hospital for a check-up, however, both escaped serious injury.
Many drivers were not happy with the five hour closure and resulting delay. Neither was John Townsend of AAA who says, "Why does it take forever and a day to clear the Beltway when one of these crashes occur? Now, I know it's for safety purposes, and it's for accident reconstruction and investigation and to clear gas spills or chemical spills, but to box in the rush hour for hours on hours, there has to be a better way. And investigators and police departments have to find a better way to clear the roadways earlier than to clog up the beltway where 200,000 drivers are impacted and it snarls the commute."
We asked Maryland State police and they told us off-camera that it took that amount of time to properly clean up the spill, make sure the roadway was safe, and check out the tractor trailer for any mechanical malfunctions.
Even when the beltway reopened, delays stuck around. It is all because of what Townsend says is a common and sometimes deadly problem: drowsy driving, "Truck drivers are no different than us, when we drive late at night, we have a tendency because of monotony and because we're looking at a white line to nod off behind the wheel, especially if we're fatigued or we haven't gotten enough sleep the night before. And most Americans not only are sleep deprived, we simply don't get enough sleep irrespective of our profession and our lifestyles."
Police identified the driver of the tractor trailer as 57-year-old Terry Lee Kendrick of Roanoke, Virginia.