All eyes were on Baltimore on Saturday morning, when a tanker carrying gasoline skidded clear off of I-95 in Southwest Baltimore and nearly 70 cars collided in a pileup. With the scene now cleared and the ice melted away, authorities are putting the pieces together to figure out exactly what happened.
Many who stayed home that morning due to icy conditions were made aware of the tanker crash and pileup from a viral video showing the truck skidding over the median and falling under a bridge, causing a sizable explosion. Two people, still unidentified but one of whom was the driver, died as a result, while 23 were injured in the nearby pileup of 67 cars.
As of this morning, University of Maryland Medical Center said seven people remain in the Shock Trauma Unit. Three of them are in critical condition, two in serious condition and two in fair condition, according to the hospital. Their injuries range from head trauma to broken bones and cuts.
A spokesman for Maryland Transportation Authority Police (MDTA) hasn’t returned a call requesting comment, but the Sun reported the police agency said that same viral video is a key component to their investigation. The man who captured the footage told WBAL-TV he saw cars moving as fast as 55 mph before they slammed into one another.
The order of the entire scene remains undetermined: Did the tanker crash cause the pileup, or vice-versa? It would seem that ice was the key cause of the crash, but that’s also reportedly still up in the air at this point.
One thing’s for sure: Baltimore-area drivers were not expecting the degree of traveling difficulty they met with on the roads on Saturday morning during the region’s first spell of winter weather this season. The National Weather Service had called for an advisory due to snow showers, sleet and freezing rain. In the end, a fifth-inch of ice stuck to roadways that morning before melting away in the afternoon.
The crash near S. Caton Avenue wasn’t the only pileup in the area. Another scary scene on I-695 near Rosedale involved a 15-car pileup, with nine people hospitalized as a result. In total, state police responded to 377 crashes between Friday night and midnight going into Sunday.
For the investigation into the deadly incident on I-95, MDTA police are still seeking more information. They’ve asked that anyone involved in the pileup on Saturday give them a call at 410-537-1208.