Car driver charged in crash that overturned tanker on I-95

A tanker truck lies across Interstate 95 after a crash Tuesday morning. The tanker lost more than 700 gallons of fuel. (Courtesy Bill Vaughan)
A tanker truck lies across Interstate 95 after a crash Tuesday morning. The tanker lost more than 700 gallons of fuel. (Courtesy Bill Vaughan)

Emergency crews respond to a crash involving a  tanker truck overturned on Interstate 95 in Laurel, Md., after a crash Tuesday morning. The tanker lost more than 700 gallons of fuel. (Courtesy Bill Vaughan)
Emergency crews respond to a crash involving a tanker truck overturned on Interstate 95 in Laurel, Md., after a crash Tuesday morning. The tanker lost more than 700 gallons of fuel. (Courtesy Bill Vaughan)

This handout photo provided by the Prince George's County, Md., Fire Department shows an overturned tanker on Interstate 95 in Laurel, Md., Tuesday, March 10, 2015. Interstate 95 was closed in both directions in the Laurel area after officials say a tanker truck carrying bio-diesel fuel overturned across southbound lanes. The tanker overturned Tuesday morning in southbound lanes south of state Route 198. Local media are showing aerial shots of the tanker lying across four lanes of traffic and pushing into jersey barrier walls along the median. (AP Photo/Assistant Fire Chief Paul Gomez, Prince George's County, Md., Fire Department)
This handout photo provided by the Prince George’s County, Md., Fire Department shows an overturned tanker on Interstate 95 in Laurel, Md., Tuesday, March 10, 2015. Interstate 95 was closed in both directions in the Laurel area after officials say a tanker truck carrying bio-diesel fuel overturned across southbound lanes. The tanker overturned Tuesday morning in southbound lanes south of state Route 198. Local media are showing aerial shots of the tanker lying across four lanes of traffic and pushing into jersey barrier walls along the median. (AP Photo/Assistant Fire Chief Paul Gomez, Prince George’s County, Md., Fire Department)

An overturned tanker truck remains on its side on Interstate 95 in Laurel Tuesday, March 10, 2015. The tanker spilled as much as 400 gallons of biodiesel. (Prince George's County Fire Department)
An overturned tanker truck remains on its side on Interstate 95 in Laurel Tuesday, March 10, 2015. The tanker spilled as much as 400 gallons of biodiesel. (Prince George’s County Fire Department)

Crews respond to a tanker truck that overturned on Interstate 95 in Laurel Tuesday. (Prince George's County Hazmat/Craig Black)
Crews respond to a tanker truck that overturned on Interstate 95 in Laurel Tuesday. (Prince George’s County Hazmat/Craig Black)

Crews respond to a tanker truck that overturned on Interstate 95 in Laurel Tuesday. (Prince George's County Hazmat/Craig Black)
Crews respond to a tanker truck that overturned on Interstate 95 in Laurel Tuesday. (Prince George’s County Hazmat/Craig Black)

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A tanker truck lies across Interstate 95 after a crash Tuesday morning. The tanker lost more than 700 gallons of fuel. (Courtesy Bill Vaughan)
Emergency crews respond to a crash involving a  tanker truck overturned on Interstate 95 in Laurel, Md., after a crash Tuesday morning. The tanker lost more than 700 gallons of fuel. (Courtesy Bill Vaughan)
This handout photo provided by the Prince George's County, Md., Fire Department shows an overturned tanker on Interstate 95 in Laurel, Md., Tuesday, March 10, 2015. Interstate 95 was closed in both directions in the Laurel area after officials say a tanker truck carrying bio-diesel fuel overturned across southbound lanes. The tanker overturned Tuesday morning in southbound lanes south of state Route 198. Local media are showing aerial shots of the tanker lying across four lanes of traffic and pushing into jersey barrier walls along the median. (AP Photo/Assistant Fire Chief Paul Gomez, Prince George's County, Md., Fire Department)
An overturned tanker truck remains on its side on Interstate 95 in Laurel Tuesday, March 10, 2015. The tanker spilled as much as 400 gallons of biodiesel. (Prince George's County Fire Department)
Crews respond to a tanker truck that overturned on Interstate 95 in Laurel Tuesday. (Prince George's County Hazmat/Craig Black)
Crews respond to a tanker truck that overturned on Interstate 95 in Laurel Tuesday. (Prince George's County Hazmat/Craig Black)

WASHINGTON — The police have charged one driver with causing the crash that overturned a tanker truck and closed Interstate 95 in Laurel, Maryland on Tuesday.

The Maryland State Police say that Christopher Rhodes, 23, of Laurel, has been charged with following too closely, reckless driving, an unsafe lane change and failure to control speed to avoid a collision.

The police say that Rhodes’ Ford Focus abruptly changed lanes on southbound 95 near Md. 198 at about 10:30 a.m. and struck a Chevrolet Malibu driven by Jamie Smith, 34, of Aberdeen, Maryland. William Gorman, 32, of Westminster, Maryland, driving the tanker, tried to avoid both cars, but hit the Focus, turning over and in the process sideswiping a Nissan Altima driven by Ryan Keiser, 24, of Reisterstown, Maryland.

Smith was taken to Laurel Regional Hospital. Everyone else refused medical treatment at the scene.

About 700 of the roughly 7,500 gallons of biodiesel fuel spilled from the tanker, which had two holes in it. Another 400 gallons was captured in drums; the rest was pumped from the tanker into another truck, the Prince George’s County Fire Department says. The department adds that biodiesel is safer to handle than gasoline.

The Maryland Department of the Environment says that most of the fuel was contained on the roadway and didn’t enter the storm drains.

The northbound lanes were reopened at about 1 p.m.; the southbound lanes, at about 3:30 p.m. It took more than seven hours before all lanes were reopened in both directions.

Assistant Fire Chief Paul Gomez says that a contractor may be needed to do more environmental remediation, which could take several days.

WTOP’s Brennan Haselton, Andrew Mollenbeck and Amanda Iacone contributed to this report.

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