Fatal Wilson Bridge accident snarls Beltway traffic – UPDATED

Wilson bridge accident

UPDATED: Wednesday, 3:45 p.m.

 

The driver of a tractor trailer apparently lost control of the rig and slammed into highway construction vehicles on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Wednesday morning.

Maryland State Police troopers found the driver dead in the cab of the truck following the crash.

As troopers piece it together, a bridge maintenance crew was examining the bridge prior to the crash. The crew members were using a boom truck that was parked on the left shoulder of the northbound main lanes. Three bridge inspection crew members were over the side of the bridge in the aerial platform and a fourth was in the truck operating the boom. Behind the boom truck, a ‘crash attenuator truck’ was positioned to help protect the boom truck and its occupants in the event of a crash.

The preliminary investigation indicates that the tractor trailer hit the crash attenuator truck and pushed it into the boom truck. The tractor trailer and boom truck immediately caught fire. A second blaze occurred a short time later when a worker’s vehicle, parked a short distance from the scene of the initial crash, caught fire.

The three crew members in the aerial platform were lowered to a Prince Georges County police boat that was waiting under the bridge. Those workers, as well as the one operating the boom from the truck, were taken by ambulance to the hospital. All are expected to survive.

Traffic was halted on the Wilson Bridge in both directions for about an hour following the 11 a.m. crash, but all northbound remained closed right up into the start of the afternoon rush hour.

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The driver of a tractor trailer apparently lost control of the rig and slammed into highway construction vehicles on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Wednesday morning.Wilson Bridge accident

Maryland State police report at least one person was killed and several others were hurt. At least one vehicle was on fire.

The accident, around 11 a.m., forced police to shut down all northbound lanes of the Wilson Bridge. Northbound traffic was being detoured off the Beltway at South Van Dorn Street into the early afternoon. Southbound lanes were also closed for a time.

 

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Ed Tobias
Ed Tobias brings more than four decades of reporting and news management experience to his work at FairfaxNews. Tobias managed news coverage for Associated Press Radio for over twenty years.  This included coverage of the 9/11 attacks, the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, the death of Princess Diana, the Challenger and Columbia shuttle disasters and national election primaries, conventions and campaigns.  He was part of the team that built AP’s on-line video operation. Prior to joining AP, Tobias was News Director at all-news WTOP in Washington, D.C. He has won two Ohio State Awards for his reporting and producing and he led coverage that won an Edward R. Murrow Award.