Seven patients were transported to area hospitals and trauma centers after two separate collisions on the Capital Beltway in Oxon Hill. The first incident occurred on the Outer Loop, northbound side, of the Capital Beltway at the exit ramp for Route 295 just before 10:30 PM on Wednesday, March 21, 2007. This incident involved a single vehicle crash and rollover with an adult male trapped inside.
Firefighters and paramedics were dispatched to the crash and as is standard on any limited access highway, units from each direction on the Beltway are dispatched. As the heavy-duty Rescue Squad from Fire/EMS Station 47, Silisea, approached the scene they were involved in a muti-vehilce crash. Rescue Squad 47 approaching on the Inner Loop, south bound side, slowed to enter a emergency access ramp in the median strip in order to arrive on location at the crash scene. As Rescue Squad 47, with all emergency warning devices on, came to a near stop to turn into the access ramp they were struck from behind by an 18-wheel tractor-trailer.
The Rescue Squad was struck with such force that it was knocked over onto its right side, injuring the four firefighters on-board. Two civilian vehicles, that had stopped to allow the emergency vehicle to pass, were also struck by the tractor-trailer. The combination of the two incidents prompted a response of nearly 100 public safety officials including fire/EMS units from Prince George’s County, Alexandria, District of Columbia, Fairfax and the Naval District Washington. Law Enforcement included Prince George’s County, Maryland State Police and Helicopter, United States Park Police Helicopter and Metropolitan Police Departments. Prince George’s County Fire Battalion Chief Doug Osterhouse established a unified incident command at the scene. The Maryland State Highway Administration was on the scene assisting with traffic and incident clean up. The Outer Loop had 1 right lane reopened by 1:00 AM and the Inner Loop will remain closed until early morning to allow for crash reconstruction, diesel fuel clean up and vehicle removal.
The initial crash resulted in an adult male being flown to an area trauma center in critical condition with a head injury. The second crash involved four firefighters being flown to an area trauma center, and two adults taken by paramedics to an area hospital. None of the injuries appear to be life threatening. As of 2:30 AM, Thursday, March 22, 2007, 1 firefighter is being admitted in good condition and the other three will be released later today.
The Maryland State Police – Forestville and the Prince George’s County Police are conducting a joint investigation into these incidents.