COVID-19 test samples safe after multi-vehicle crash on Route 195, police say

"The container holding the samples was intact and undamaged, as were the samples inside," authorities said.

–Massachusetts State Police

A courier transporting samples to a COVID-19 testing facility was involved in a multi-vehicle crash on Route 195 in Seekonk Tuesday morning, according to Massachusetts State Police.

Authorities say the woman was transporting “a small number of medical samples” that were found safe and intact following the crash, which initially spurred a hazmat team response.

Police said the courier, a 49-year-old Coventry, Rhode Island, woman, was behind the wheel of a 2000 Honda Civic in the right lane on Route 195 westbound near Exit 1 when she and the driver of a 2015 International PRO tractor-trailer made contact around 7:50 a.m.

The truck, owned by JT&S Truck Rental of Hartford, was driven by a 51-year-old Uncasville, Connecticut, man, who was hauling a trailer owned by Mid City Scrap, Iron, and Salvage of Westport, Massachusetts, according to officials.

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“As a result of the Honda and tractor-trailer making contact, the Honda spun out and struck an ambulance owned by the town of Warren, Rhode Island, which was traveling in the left lane,” police said. “The ambulance was carrying a patient, a 70-year-old woman, to Rhode Island Hospital at the time. The ambulance sustained moderate damage.”

A Seekonk EMS ambulance picked up the patient and continued the trip to the hospital, authorities said.

The Honda sustained heavy rear-end and driver’s-side damage, police said.

“The medical samples being transported for testing had been secured by the courier inside a plastic container,” police said. “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.”

The hazmat team ultimately determined that the spilled liquid was coffee belonging to the Honda driver and that “the container holding the samples was intact and undamaged, as were the samples inside,” authorities said.

The samples were taken to the laboratory by another courier who responded to the scene, officials said.

The tractor-trailer was not visibly damaged, and its driver was not injured, according to police. The crash scene was cleared around 9:45 a.m., and the incident remains under investigation.

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