At approximately 8:21 am on Thursday, June 1, 2006, an 18-wheel tractor-trailer was traveling northbound on Interstate 295 when it reportedly began to slow down to ensure clearance of the Eastern Avenue overpass. At that time another tractor-trailer carrying a petroleum tanker was also traveling northbound on Interstate 295 when the operator observed the truck ahead. Apparently, unable to stop in time, the tanker hit the rear of the tractor-trailer, which caused the vehicle to deflect and collide with the cement divider wall before coming to a stop. After the collision the cab of the vehicle became engulfed in flames; however, the tanker section did not catch on fire or appear to leak fuel.
Units from the DC Fire Department responded to the scene and contained the fire. The operator of the tanker who has been identified as 46-year-old Stanley Bowler of Ashburn, Virginia was transported to the Washington Hospital Center's MedStar Unit where he was treated for minor burns and bruises and released. He was issued a Notice of Infraction for Following Too Closely in conjunction with this accident. The operator of the tractor-trailer has been identified as 30-year-old Aaron Baker of Fort Madison, Iowa. He was apparently uninjured.
As a result of this incident, Interstate 295 was closed in both directions during the subsequent investigation and clean-up.