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Moose Curve Wreck Kills One, Two Critically Injured

April 30th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

On Wednesday at 5:17 pm the Cumberland Police Department and the Cumberland Fire Department responded to Interstate 68 east bound 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. 

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 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 evacuated the area around the crash site.  There are no health risks outside the contained 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 was 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 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 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.

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.  

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.


11 Responses to “Moose Curve Wreck Kills One, Two Critically Injured”

  1. April 30, 2020 at 7:43 am, mac said:

    The infamous Moose Curve.
    State Highway has done their best to mark the dangerous curve and any truck driver should know to heed the warning signs. In this case the driver was either outright speeding and failed to negotiate the turn or he lost his brakes coming down the mountain after ignoring those earlier speed limit signs and/or a combination of both.
    Condolences to the families of the victims.


    • April 30, 2020 at 10:28 am, Jay said:

      The article said speed was not a factor but in general I have observed that semi=trucks go quite a bit faster than 40 MPH coming down Haystack. With the frequency of truck accidents on Moose curve one would think that the SHA would work on a plan for an alternate route bypass through Cumberland. Easier said than done.


      • April 30, 2020 at 10:33 am, Peter said:

        > “Excessive speed does appear to be a factor in the crash.”


      • April 30, 2020 at 10:33 am, mac said:

        > If you read what is written above it states that excessive speed does appears to be a factor in the crash.


        • April 30, 2020 at 11:49 am, dave said:

          > Yeah that statement seems a little odd. The only time that I ever saw traffic going accross the bridge at 40 MPH was when a wide load had all the lanes blocked and he was going 40. EVERYONE goes over the speed limit on that bridge but the guy that wrecked and killed someone was going the speed limit? Or are they saying 50 to 60 MPH is not excessive speed? I’m confused.


  2. April 30, 2020 at 11:11 am, Mark said:

    An earlier news article said the State police issued a ton of tickets for awhile and the number of accidents dropped way off. They need to get these bad drivers off the road before they kill again. And we know it’s usually ‘bad’ driving because hundreds pass through on 68 EVERY day WITHOUT burning up their brakes and hurting people . God rest his soul and condolences to his family.


    • April 30, 2020 at 11:39 am, mac said:

      > Good point Mark. When did the troopers decide it was time to leave the area? The State Troopers are the Maryland version of the Highway Patrol. HIGHWAY PATROL. They did lower the number of speeders and defective trucks, for a while, they need to go back to doing their job. Yeah, I know, they are very busy but they found time before.


      • April 30, 2020 at 11:55 am, dave said:

        > Dig up that white SUV with the camera that they had there when they where working on the road. Better yet the city of Cumberland should put a camera up and solve all the city’s money problems, or at least make the road safer.


        • April 30, 2020 at 1:05 pm, Lav said:

          > City of Cumberland does not own the highway – that’s the State.


  3. May 01, 2020 at 2:06 am, Ellen said:

    Apprently these big rigs need to be focus on for speeding and driving like assholes in general! Prayers for this families lost


  4. May 14, 2020 at 8:19 am, george said:

    What you dumb red necks need to realize is that your lives and deaths DO NOT MATTER! The commerce and freight needs to get thru, the self centered, ignorant “tourists” need to get to their “fun time” destinations east and west of Cumberland. They have no intentions to come here to visit/spend money, they are just traveling thru and need to get there as quickly as they can.How many times I and you (locals) have driven the “curves” of Rt. 68 with traffic exceeding the speed limit be 20-30 mph, passenger vehicles as well as freight haulers. The smell and smokey haze on the downgrade (EB 68)from burning brakes on heavy trucks, trying to slow from excessive speed to make the Moose Curve, and too many NOT making the turn (the Great Wall, to protect the families behind). How many times have we seen the burning carcusses of trucks/trailers who did not heed the warnings to gear down. It brings to mind a family friend who was freight driver for Kelly, who stated, “brakes aren’t for slowing down on grades, the gearing is, the brakes are for stopping”,so I would say we don’t have many “real truckers” out there. Maybe what we need is a “tagger” to paint a CROSS ON THE WALL AT THE MOOSE CURVE FOR EVERY DEATH that has occurred there, as at the bottom of Backbone Mountain. Make it visual for all the idiots that race thru “our” area with no concern, and maybe, just maybe our local officials (police/mayor/county commissioners/delegates) will wake up and enforce the rules/laws on the road, or maybe some of us (family and friends of victims) should protest via letter or picketing. But, it is doubtful anything will be done, as I stated our lives and deaths don’t matter. In closing my condolences to the victims and families of this “accident”.


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