On January 13, the National Transportation Safety Board dispatched a Go Team to investigate the crash of a tanker truck that departed a ramp where Interstate 895 crosses Interstate 95 in Elkridge, Maryland. The ensuing collisions and fire killed at least 4 persons. This is an update on the progress of that investigation.
The team returned to the roadway yesterday to continue mapping accident scene marks. At the point ending where the truck turned over the Jersey barrier, the team measured 165 feet of tire marks. There are other marks that might extend that measurement, but at this time they cannot be positively associated with the accident truck.
The Maryland authorities and the NTSB investigative team will be conducting a site test over the weekend. An exemplar truck will be used at the accident site to line up tire marks, check track widths and attempt to discern the positions of the truck during the accident sequence. The I-895 overpass will be closed during the afternoon test.
Examinations of the accident vehicle are continuing. A similar truck will be used as a point of reference for investigators as they try to determine whether the accident truck had any pre-accident mechanical deficiencies. This process is understandably difficult due to the severe fire damage the truck sustained.
Two more U.S. Department of Transportation agencies have been added as parties to the NTSB investigation, the Federal Highway Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They join the Federal Motor Carrier Administration, the Maryland State Police, the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, and Petro Chemical Transport Inc. (of Addison, Texas, the operator of the truck) as parties.
The tractor is a 2003 Freightliner Daytripper model; the tank is a 2000 Heil 406 model. Investigators have learned that shortly before the crash, the truck was loaded with 8,800 gallons of premium gasoline at a Citgo facility in Baltimore. With an estimated 100 gallons already in the tank, that would have resulted in 8,900 gallons of product in a 9,200 gallon tank. Investigators have obtained and will be studying a video purportedly depicting the tank truck being loaded with product before the accident trip.
In the coming days investigators hope to interview family members of the truck driver, continue examining the accident vehicle, examine maintenance records on the truck and tank, examine motor carrier records, and gather medical records on the driver. A blood sample from the driver has been obtained by the Safety Board and will be sent to a federal lab for toxicological analysis.