A tractor-trailer rear-ended a bus yesterday and then crashed into a Jessup motel, causing a nearly two-hour shutdown of busy U.S. 1 in southern Howard County.
The accident happened about 9 a.m. when the tractor-trailer collided with an Urban Rural Transportation Alliance bus as the vehicles traveled south on U.S. 1, Howard police said.
The tractor-trailer, driven by Rodney Robertson, 34, of the 6000 block of Moravia Park Drive in Baltimore, hit the left bumper of the bus, police said. The trailer then spun into the 29-room Cedar Motel in the 8000 block of U.S. 1. It crashed into Room 101 and severely damaged two other rooms, police added.
The bus, which was carrying a driver and two passengers, spun out of control but stopped in the middle of the road, police said.
Nobody was seriously injured, and Room 101 was unoccupied at the time of the accident, police said.
"It's a good thing [the occupant of the room] left, because otherwise he would be dead," said hotel resident Marc Carver, 48, as he stared at the tractor-trailer's crushed cab, buried in broken bricks and wood.
Residents said the force of the accident shook the building.
"Things were fine and then 'boom,' there was all this brick and wood everywhere. ... It felt like an earthquake," said Michael Wagner, who lives in Room 104 of the motel with his wife, Amanda.
Wagner suffered a cut on his left foot, but he said he tried to help Robertson, who was stuck in the truck.
Robertson "was freaking out because he thought he was stuck," Wagner said.
Emergency crews removed Robertson from the truck. Robertson refused medical treatment and was questioned by police, then released.
Wagner said he needed nearly 20 stitches to close the cut in his foot.
The driver of the bus, Wayne Martin Brown, of the 2500 block of Parkview Road in Baltimore, and his two passengers were unhurt, according to police.
The left rear bumper of the bus was damaged. The bus will be out of service while it is repaired, according to Tony Hamlin, operations manager for the nonprofit URTA, which supplies transportation to people with disabilities, senior citizens and low-income residents.
"We're grateful the driver ... safely got out of traffic," Hamlin said. "It could have been a lot worse."
The three motel rooms affected by the crash are uninhabitable, said motel owner Chung Ja Cho. The residents of those rooms were being relocated yesterday, she added.
The tractor-trailer also damaged a gas line that supplies the motel, and gas service has been temporarily disconnected, said a spokeswoman for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.
County officials have not cut off water service to the motel, but Cho said some rooms are without water.
Police are investigating the accident.