SEEKONK (CBS) – A courier with coronavirus samples crashed on Interstate 195 in Seekonk near the Rhode Island border Tuesday morning, but fortunately none of the samples spilled.
Massachusetts State Police said a hazardous materials team determined the samples “were not compromised” and the container holding them was intact.
The courier, who was driving a Honda Civic, and a tractor-trailer bumped into each other on the westbound side of 195 at Exit 1 around 7:50 a.m. That caused the Honda to spin out and hit an ambulance with a 70-year-old patient on board.
“Initial observations of a liquid spill led first responders to suspect the samples may have spilled and a state hazardous materials response team responded to the scene,” State Police spokesman Dave Procopio said in a statement.
“Further investigation by the hazmat team revealed that the spilled liquid was the Honda driver’s coffee, and that the container holding the samples was intact and undamaged, as were the samples inside.”
Three lanes of the highway were shut down for the cleanup.
State Police said the courier, a 49-year-old woman from Coventry, Rhode Island, was taken to a nearby hospital as a precaution to make sure she was not exposed to the samples. It’s not clear yet if she will be charged. Her name has not been made public.
Another courier was called in and took the samples to their destination. Lifespan, a hospital and health care system in Rhode Island, said in a statement to WBZ-TV the courier was working for them.
“A contract courier transporting a small number of samples from a Lifespan laboratory was involved in a traffic accident on I-195 in Seekonk this morning. Medical and public safety officials responded and determined that the container seals were not broken and no risk was posed to the driver or first responders.”
No one was hurt. A patient on the ambulance from Warren, Rhode Island was moved to an ambulance from Seekonk and taken to the hospital.