White Tractor Trailer Changed Lanes, Sparking Morning Wreck, State Police Say

Maryland State Police said Monday that an unknown white tractor trailer abruptly changed lanes, causing a rapid chain of collisions that led to a three-hour closure of I-270 during the Monday morning rush hour.

Other vehicles braked to try to avoid collisions, state police said. The series of collisions occurred near the Middlebrook Road exit between Germantown and Gaithersburg.

The unknown white tractor trailer (box style trailer) was last seen stopping briefly on the right shoulder after the collision but then continued driving southbound on I-270 away from the scene, the Rockville barracks said.

Eighteen vehicles — three tractor trailers and 15 cars — were involved as was an undetermined number of occupants, according to the Rockville barracks. Four people were injured and taken to local hospitals.

The 5:20 a.m. crash closed all four southbound lanes. One tractor trailer was carrying slate rocks and many large boulders, which covered travel lanes, further complicating recovery.

The crash drew troopers from as far away as the College Park barracks as well as units from Montgomery County police, Gaithersburg police, Montgomery County Fire & Rescue, CHART and State Highway Administration. Four local companies towed 15 vehicles from the crash site.

A Montgomery County Ride On bus sheltered the victims while personnel worked to clear the scene, state police said.

Any member of the public who may be able to assist in identifying the unknown truck or who witnessed the collision is encouraged to call the Maryland State Police Rockville Barrack at 301-424-2101.

All lanes were re-opened at 8:23 a.m.

Update at 8:45 a.m.: All lanes of I-270 are now open. Fire and Rescue Service says dozens were evaluated and only four were transported to area hospitals; there were no fatalities associated with this accident.

Update at 7:25 a.m.: Fire and Rescue spokesperson Pete Piringer says some southbound lanes are open. Backup continues.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue (MCFRS) units are responding to a serious, multi-vehicle crash on southbound I-270 between Middlebrook Road and Montgomery Village Avenue.

According to MCFRS spokesperson Pete Piringer the accident, which occurred around 5:25 a.m., involves more than 20 vehicles. It appears, a tractor trailer carrying gravel crashed and dumped the stone on the roadway. Other vehicles could not avoid the original accident, resulting in the multi-vehicle crash, according to Piringer.

MCFRS reports more than two dozen people have been hurt, some have been taken to area hospitals. Emergency Management Services has declared the situation a mass casualty incident, according to Piringer.

State police are investigating.

Motorists should expect significant delays and are asked to avoid the area. Traffic on southbound I-270 is being diverted at Clarksburg Road, before the accident, while cleanup occurs.

 

 

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