Trailer snaps in two near Washington, DC

| 12/7/2001

A tractor-trailer laden with garbage snapped in half Tuesday morning on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge near Washington, DC. The incident created a massive traffic jam that lasted more than six hours and led to a nine-mile backup.

Maryland State Trooper Ron Fisher said the truck was hauling about 22.5 tons of trash. He blamed the break on a "structural failure with the trailer due to the weight. Lengthwise the trailer had no support and couldn't handle the load. It literally snapped in two."

Fisher said the mess began when the tractor-trailer, loaded to the top with garbage, became stuck on the westbound side of the bridge. He said the truck's load apparently shifted, collapsing the center of the trailer and lifting its rear wheels off the ground.

The driver, Janmie Matthews, and company, D & M Trucking Inc. of Linden, NJ, likely will not face charges. "There didn't appear to be anything that could've been done differently," said Fisher. "It doesn't appear anyone was at fault."
--Keith Goble