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ALERT: City Man Killed in Interstate 68 Crash

April 29th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

MIDNIGHT UPDATE:

The hazardous material spill at the crash scene is still being worked on.  The bulk of the spill has been mitigated and no health hazards exist.  The spill did leave a residue on the roadway which will take a specialist some time to clean up. The police are currently clearing the vehicles so roadway cleanup can begin.  We anticipate east bound I68 through Cumberland to be closed for several hours.  
 
The case is still under investigation; however, preliminary it appears that the semi tank truck owned by MC Tank Transport driven by Andrew Lewis of New Jersey was at fault for the crash.  The semi truck failed to negotiate a turn and collided with the passenger car and a second semi truck. Excessive speed does appear to be a factor in the crash.  The driver of this vehicle was not injured.
 
The passenger car was occupied by the driver and 4 passengers.  Three occupants of the car were transported to the hospital with life threatening injuries.  Unfortunately,one of the passengers, Wendell Johnson, age 62, of Cumberland succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
 
The second semi trailer involved was owned by CRST Transport and driven by Ray Walker of Arizona.The truck was hauling Amazon products and was disabled and towed from the scene.  The driver of this vehicle was not injured.
 
The crash scene extended for approximately 1/2 a mile along the interstate.  The seriousness of the crash coupled with the entire roadway being blocked and the hazardous material spill made it a challenge for first responders.  
 
The Cumberland Police Crash Reconstruction Team is conducting a thorough investigation into the matter.  Criminal and/or traffic charges are pending the outcome of the investigation.
 
Further, with the interstate being closed many vehicles re-routed through the city which caused a variety of traffic problems on the city streets which were handled by the Cumberland Police Department.
 
We still anticipate clean up efforts to last most of the night.  Please avoid the area and do not travel east bound interstate 68 through Cumberland.  We will advise when the road is reopened.  
 

 

INITIAL REPORT:

On Wednesday at 5:17 pm the Cumberland Police Department and the Cumberland Fire Department responded to Interstate 68 eastbound in the area of Johnson Street for a report of a vehicle crash. 
Upon arrival units discovered a semi truck hauling a tanker was involved in a crash with a passenger car and another semi truck.  The crash caused the tanker to roll onto its side causing a breach of its cargo.  As a result of the crash several people were trapped in a passenger car and had to be extricated by CFD.  After extrication 3 patients were transported to the hospital with life threatening injuries.  Two other passengers in the car were not injured.  Also the driver's of the semi trucks were not injured.  
The tanker truck was hauling a product known as Pilot EM99 which is an industrial cleaning product. The Allegany County Hazardous Material Team as the Maryland Department of the environment is on the scene addressing the spill.  The substance that has leaked is caustic and may be a health risk to those in the immediate area of the spill.  Police have evacuated the area around the crash site.  There are no health risks outside the contained area.  Cumberland Police are asking that everyone continue to avoid the area.
The Cumberland Police Department is leading the investigation with assistance from the Allegany County Sheriff's Office and the Maryland State Police.
The Cumberland Fire Department is being assisted by LaVale Fire Department, Cresaptown Fire Department, Ridgeley Fire Department, District 16 Fire Department, and the Allegany County Emergency Management, Eastern Garrett Fire Department, the Allegany County Fire Police  
 
The Maryland State Highway Administration is on the scene as well.
 
The Interstate is expected to be closed for several hours while the Hazardous Material Teams address the spill and the CPD conducts their investigation.  Please find alternate routes and avoid the area.

One Response to “ALERT: City Man Killed in Interstate 68 Crash”

  1. April 30, 2020 at 7:57 am, Thomas Rafferty said:

    I have been in trucking for 30 years and hold a safety position with my current employer. I think more enforcement needs to be implemented to slow these trucks down. The Cumberland area in which I live has had too many truck accidents. I work in Morgantown and just yesterday I was headed I 68 east bound at 4:30 pm and as I descended the hill at Frostburg there was a truck beside me running 70mph down the hill towards the claryville bridge.The posted speed limit for trucks is 45.I rarely see any police cars in this area monitoring speeds for trucks. There should be more police and heavy fines for driving over the speed limit.People should not have to lose there life for something that can be prevented.

    Reply

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