I-95 wreck snarls traffic; Crane topples in White Marsh, trapping trucker; 2 crashes block interstate; Tow trucks lift rig while workers cut to free man


A pair of highway accidents -- including an overturned tanker truck and a separate crash that left a White Marsh man trapped beneath tons of metal in his truck-mounted crane -- snared motorists in traffic yesterday along Interstate 95 in Baltimore and Howard counties.

In the worst of the two accidents, mid-morning traffic on southbound I-95 was backed up about two hours, from White Marsh to Mountain Road about eight miles away in Harford County.

A crane careened off I-95 north of the Baltimore Beltway and skidded to a stop on its side, requiring rescuers to gingerly lift the heavy rig while they cut the driver free from the wreckage.

Joseph William Moxham, 56, suffered injuries to his head, one shoulder and his legs, but was conscious throughout the hourlong rescue, authorities said.

"He was saying, 'I'm mad as hell,' and, 'Get this truck off of me. My legs are killing me,' " said Eileen Endryas, a paramedic from the Baltimore County Fire Department's Perry Hall station.

Authorities called for help from Sullivan's Garage, which sent three large tow trucks to the scene. The trucks -- with towing capacities ranging from 35 to 60 tons -- lifted the crane and keep it from collapsing farther while firefighters cut the cab open.

"It was just kind of lift and cut, lift and cut," said Battalion Chief William D. Purcell, the county Fire Department's incident commander.

Officials from the Maryland Department of the Environment were called to the accident scene because diesel fuel and hydraulic fluids were spilled, but authorities said the contaminants had been contained and would be easily removed.

Investigators were trying yesterday to determine the cause of the accident, which occurred about 9: 30 a.m. Tfc. Daniel G. Peters said a witness told investigators the crane simply veered off the highway, hit an embankment and flipped onto its side.

Moxham owns the vehicle and has operated it from his White Marsh home under the business name of Joe's Crane Service, police said.

The crash left the driver's side of the crane on the ground, with Moxham trapped in the cab and the engine, normally to his left, above him.

About 2: 15 p.m., a truck carrying about 75,000 gallons of diesel fuel overturned on the ramp leading from southbound I-95 to eastbound Route 32 in Howard County.

The driver was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center. The condition and identity were not available.

The ramp was shut for several hours, causing traffic backups in the Savage area while workers pumped diesel fuel from the tanker to another truck. I-95 remained open.

Sun staff writer Erika Niedowski contributed to this article.

Pub Date: 10/30/99

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