It took a massive paint spill and an arrest to teach one trucker that texting while driving is not a good idea. A portion of Interstate 68 was left a sloppy mess, and the related cleanup efforts will take days.
The spill occurred on Wednesday, four miles west of Hancock, Maryland. Police say that the trucker was texting on a cellphone at the time of the incident and lost control of his vehicle. The truck was carrying thousands of gallons of yellow and white paint when it overturned. Some the barrels spilled paint all over the road at the site of the accident. As of now, no other vehicular accidents related to the paint spill have been reported.
According to New York Magazine, enough paint was dumped onto the interstate “to fill an above ground swimming pool.”
— WTOP (@WTOP) June 4, 2015
It was an ugly scene and the trucker inadvertently caused local officials a massive headache. State Highway Administration spokesperson David Buck said that it was simply impossible to “wash” the paint off the road.
“We can’t wash [the paint] off. The stuff that’s on the road literally has to be scraped off.”
The paint removal effort is expected to take nearly a week. KWWL reports that officials will close one westbound lane during the day. That should give workers the chance to scrape the road and replace the destroyed section of guard rail. Both westbound lanes were previously closed to traffic in the aftermath of the paint spill; this caused traffic to be backed up for nearly two miles.
The trucker, who was later identified as David M. Vaughn, was taken into custody for his illegal texting. The 33-year-old was charged with negligent driving and using a hand-held mobile phone while operating a commercial vehicle. Although the hapless driver faces criminal charges for texting while driving, at least he wasn’t seriously injured.
Yellow means slow: Texting trucker wrecks, spills 6,500 gallons of paint on I-68 in Maryland: http://t.co/ygjokYWBpH #odd
— AP Oddities (@AP_Oddities) June 5, 2015
The same could not be said for one woman who was thrown in the air by a train that clipped her. She had been too busy texting to hear the warning whistle. Although that woman survived, incidents like these serve as a reminder that mindless texting can be dangerous—both to you and to others.
It only took one texting trucker (and a big paint spill) to cause a major traffic problem that affected thousands. Distracted driving and the related consequences are real. Texting while driving is unsafe; remember to keep both eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel!
[Image Credit: Ryan Dickey]