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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Press Conference in Howard County, Maryland

Aired January 14, 2004 - 05:51   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: We want to head live to Howard County, Maryland.
This is a press conference. You're listening to members of the state police there talking about that tractor trailer that plunged off an overpass off of 895 to the highway below, 95, killing four people. It exploded into a giant fireball.

Let's listen to the update on the investigation now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First responders, the fire and the rescue, the police who came out and did the investigation, the state highway administration, the Maryland Transportation Authority, we were able to open all the highways at 3:30 this morning.

I'm going to turn this over to Corporal Prioleau now.

CPL. GREG PRIOLEAU, MARYLAND TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY: I'm Corporal Gregory Prioleau. I'm the public information officer for the Maryland Transportation Authority and the NTA police.

At approximately 2:50 p.m. yesterday, a tanker traveling southbound on 895, for some unknown reason, went over the embankment and over the bridge and onto Interstate 95 north bound.

As a result of that accident, which involved four other vehicles, we have five confirmed fatalities, the fifth being -- the fifth was noted last night, the other four earlier in the evening last night.

It's an ongoing investigation. We are still attempting to reconstruct the accident and attempts to see -- to try and find out the cause of the accident. We're working along with the Maryland State Police, as well as NTSB, who has their own investigation going on right now. And we're all trying to work together in order to bring this to a closure.

Once we have identified the victims of this crash, then we will have to make notification to family members. We have not identified any companies that may have been involved right now.

QUESTION: You said, Greg, an unknown reason. Is there anything that would explain what might have happened -- speed, anything about the condition of the vehicle, anything about the driver?

PRIOLEAU: Well, there's still a lot of work to be done in reconstructing the accident scene. Until that work is completed, we don't know the cause of the accident or the crash. QUESTION: You said there were five fatals now. Are they from five different vehicles, were they together, can you tell anything about who was involved?

PRIOLEAU: Well, it appears that -- it appears that there were five different vehicles, one person in each vehicle. But, again, that's a preliminary report and we still have a lot of work to do.

QUESTION: What are you going to do with the debris that was gathered and taken away last night? Where is it and what are you going to do with it?

PRIOLEAU: Well, much of the debris has been taken to an undisclosed location and it will be evaluated and it is evidence at this point. And right now we aren't able to give you more information regarding that.

QUESTION: What about the bridge inspections?

QUESTION: What kind of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) clues are you looking for about what really -- I mean clue in on...

COSTELLO: We're going to jump away from this right now.

This is from Howard County, Maryland.

This is an official from the Maryland Transportation Authority talking about that horrible accident yesterday afternoon in Howard County, Maryland. It was on I-95 right near the BWI Airport.

Apparently this tractor trailer fell off the overpass for some reason. You heard that man say he doesn't know why. It fell onto the highway below. This tractor trailer was carrying a flammable liquid. It exploded into flames and vehicles driving on I-95 just ran right into it. You heard him confirm five fatalities now. Five people have died. And since the cars were completely burned they don't have positive I.D.s yet and they're just waiting for family members to call them to tell them that their loved ones are missing and they might have been driving on I-95.

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