Ruptured gas line, accident, cause double the problems along US 13

By Lynn R. Parks

Traffic conditions on U.S. 13 in Seaford are already very congested, with construction going on simultaneously at five intersections there. On Tuesday, a leak in a natural gas pipe and an accident combined to make them even worse.

The Seaford Volunteer Fire Department was called out to the gas leak at the corner of Herring Run Road and U.S. 13 at 1:30 in the afternoon. A 4-inch plastic gas pipe that runs through the ground in front of the M&T Bank there was ruptured by an auger that workers with Delmarva Power were using to set a utility pole.

Fire company spokesman Ron Marvel said that northbound and southbound lanes of U.S. 13 were closed for more than two hours while a crew from Chesapeake Utilities repaired the pipe. Traffic was rerouted to alternate U.S. 13 (Bridgeville Highway).

In addition, Marvel said, the nearby Walgreen Pharmacy was evacuated while the pipe was repaired. No other business had to be evacuated.

Not even a half hour after the fire company received the call about a gas leak, it was asked to respond to an accident just down the road, at the intersection of U.S. 13 and Concord Road. State police said Anna Collick, 50, of Laurel, drove her Pontiac Grand Am underneath a Dodge van that was stopped for a red light.

The van was pushed forward into the back of a Dodge pickup truck. All three vehicles were headed north.

Because volunteers with the Seaford Fire Department were busy with the gas leak, volunteers with the Blades and Laurel fire departments responded to the accident. There were also ambulances from the Bridgeville and Greenwood fire departments there, as well as a rescue crew from Seaford.

Collick and her two passengers, all of whom were wearing seat belts, were extracted from the car and were taken to Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Seaford, for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. In addition, a firefighter was also taken to the hospital, where he was treated for a heat-related illness.

Collick was cited for inattentive driving, driving with a suspended and revoked license, not having proof of insurance and not having a registration card.

The driver of the van, Michael J. Wilson, 34, of Elmer, N.J., and the driver of the pickup, Louis P. Vogler III, 45, of Lebanon, N.H., were both uninjured.

State police said that the three vehicles were cleared away in two hours. "The crash impacted already jammed traffic due to the gas leak," the state police report added.

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