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Md. Man Charged In Causing I-95 Tanker Crash

LAUREL, Md. (WJZ) -- I-95 was shut down for hours and covered in diesel fuel after a tanker truck overturned. Now investigators say it was the reckless driving of another car in front of the truck that caused the chain reaction crash. It's a dangerous, sometimes deadly problem that trucking experts say happens all too often.

Meghan McCorkell has more on the investigation.

State police have now charged a 23-year-old driver for causing a four-vehicle wreck that closed down I-95---and it stayed that way for hours after a crash caused a tanker truck to overturn, spilling diesel fuel all over the highway.

Now investigators say it was another driver that caused the whole thing.

"A Ford Focus was traveling at a high rate of speed, abruptly changed lanes causing a kind of chain reaction," said Sgt. Marc Black, Maryland State Police.

The driver of that Ford Focus has been identified as 23-year-old Christopher Rhodes. He now faces charges of following too closely, making an unsafe lane change, failure to control speed leading to a collision and reckless driving.

Trucking experts say it's often the carelessness of other drivers in these kinds of accidents that can be potentially deadly.

"A tractor trailer that's running 55 to 60 miles per hour can take up to a football field to stop," said Louis Campion, MD Motor Truck Association.

Just last month, a car cut off a BGE truck, sending it careening into a Perry Hall home. Back in 2008, truck driver John Short was killed after his 18-wheeler went flying off the Bay Bridge. He was trying to avoid an oncoming car during two-way traffic.

Federal studies show in fatal crashes involving commercial vehicles, nearly 75% of the time, the passenger vehicle is at fault.

"We all need to improve our knowledge about sharing the road," Campion said.

So crashes like this one can be avoided.

One person was injured in Tuesday's crash. They were taken to the hospital.

WJZ did reach out to Christopher Rhodes, who is charged in the accident. He did not return our request for comment.

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