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Legal Review: Fatal Accident Forces Closure of Bridge as Three are Rescued

By a Virginia wrongful death attorney with Price Benowitz LLP.

A horrific accident shut down multiple lanes of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in late June after a truck slammed into a boom truck and exploded, killing one and stranding three others underneath the bridge.

The person killed in the wreck was the driver of a tractor-trailer that lost control and slammed into a boom truck and multiple other construction trucks working on the bridge Wednesday, June 20. The accident happened around 11 a.m. and the remaining closed lanes did not reopen until around 11 p.m. that night due to the cleanup and investigation.

The three people rescued were construction workers who were working under the bridge at the time of the crash. They had become trapped underneath due to the fire above them on the bridge. The three workers did not suffer any injuries.

The accident happened on the outer loop lanes, according to Denny Chatel, the assistant fire chief for Prince George’s County. All told there were four vehicles involved in the fatal wreck, three of them construction vehicles.

The workers under the bridge were in a bucket that was being extended from a work truck when the crash occurred. The operator of that truck, the boom, did not suffer any injuries.

“There was one bridge worker on the boom truck operating the boom with three workers in the boom truck operating underneath the bridge. All in all we had eight patients that we evaluated — all but one was treated and released,” Chatel said.

A witness who happened to be working at a nearby park said he heard the first explosion. He walked closer to the bridge and as he got to within 300 yards he heard three or four more explosions.

“The death of a loved one is incredibly painful. However, if the death was caused by the negligence of another party you very well could have a claim for compensation.” A Virginia wrongful death attorney with Price Benowitz LLP said.

The police marine unit for Prince George’s County was patrolling the Potomac River at the time of the crash. The patrol boat was able to help rescue the three construction workers in the bucket under the bridge. Four jurisdictions sent police, firefighters, and EMS personnel to the scene totaling more than 100 first responders in more than 40 vehicles.

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