Truck driver cited in crash that led to 13-hour Beltway traffic snarl

The crash of a tanker truck, and the resulting fuel leak, closed the Inner Loop of the Capital Beltway for more than 13 hours from Thursday night into the predawn of Friday. Now, the driver of the truck has been cited.

Weldon Harrison, 45, of Woodbridge, Virginia, the driver of the truck, has been cited for reckless driving and four counts of having defective brakes in the crash, which happened just before 2 p.m. Thursday, the Virginia State Police said in a statement Friday.

The police said the truck was just south of the American Legion Bridge on the Inner Loop when Harrison hit the brakes as traffic slowed in front of him. He lost control, the police said, hit the right guardrail and overturned, taking up the right shoulder of the road and three lanes of traffic. He hit two other cars and was hit by another one that couldn’t stop in time.

The driver of one of the cars was treated at a hospital for minor injuries; no one else was hurt.

The truck was carrying 8,500 gallons of fuel, and the resulting leak meant that the road didn’t fully reopen until just before 3 a.m. Friday. The fuel in the truck had to be pumped into another truck before the damaged tanker could be set upright and removed, the police said.

Between the afternoon rush hour and the crowds at Thursday’s Nationals opener, the ripple effects were felt throughout the region.

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