4-car crash, search of tractor-trailer lead to closings near base


Part of Route 32 near Fort Meade was closed and an Army base entrance was shut down as military police searched a tractor-trailer and responded to a car accident yesterday.

Although the traffic congestion and the presence of police officers in fatigues might have looked serious to motorists passing the base about noon yesterday, authorities said security was not breached at the Army installation or at the National Security Agency.

An NSA security dog sat next to a tractor-trailer that was set to pass through a restricted gate at Route 32 and Mapes Road about 11 a.m., indicating that the dog had sniffed explosives, authorities said. The truck, loaded with military families' furniture and personal belongings, was searched for several hours and found to contain no explosives, officials said. A Fort Meade spokesman said it was unclear what might have made the dog react.

Officials said that closure of Route 32 was not related to the search. The highway was closed for about an hour between Routes 175 and 198 to allow emergency crews to clear a four-car accident that sent two people to Laurel Regional Hospital with minor injuries.

About the same time, a SWAT team at NSA was carrying out a long-planned training exercise.

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