I hope that Marino Transportation Service isn't responding to its crisis with the Ralphie look. I can't tell so far. There's nothing on the website, and it's too soon to find mention on the National Transportation Safety Board's investigation page. Plus, "A call to Stevensville, Md.-based Marino Transportation Services from msnbc.com on Wednesday morning was not returned." (http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/11/23/8976015-gooey-tar-paralyzes-more-than-150-vehicles-in-pa)
Here is the crisis -- and it's a big and potentially expensive one. "A leaking valve on the tanker, which was transporting liquid driveway sealant, caused black tar-like fluid to flood the highway (Pennsylvania Turnpike), stopping motorists in their tracks as their wheels and undercarriages became mired in sludge.
The tanker began leaking near New Castle, Pa., and continued to spill sealant as it drove eastbound for 39 miles until it exited the turnpike at a service plaza in Oakmont, Turnpike spokesman Bill Capone said."
More than 150 cars were damaged, including turnpike maintenance vehicles and police cars. This happened Tuesday, and no dollar damage figures are available yet.
"Dan Gordon, owner of Cranberry Auto and Dan’s Towing, said his crews had received about 40 calls from stranded drivers as of 9 p.m. Tuesday. Gordon said he’s never seen a similar incident in the 26 years he’s been in the business.
“'Most of these cars are ruined, up underneath. That car over there’s got a transmission that’s ruined. It’s bad, I’ve never seen anything like it,' Gordon said. Turnpike maintenance crews were plowing and using sand to clean up and dry the tar Tuesday night, but all lanes remained open to traffic." (http://www.timesonline.com/news/local_news/tar-spill-snarls-traffic-on-turnpike/article_a045a45b-eb4b-52d1-a1ba-c3637556a4cb.html)
Affected travelers have been told to get a Pennsylvania State Police incident number from the turnpike’s Customer Assistance Center.
I wonder if MTS has the resources and insurance to cover the costs to motorists whose cars have been damaged and perhaps totalled. We can expect civil suits from stranded drivers, some of whom were on their way to visit families and friends for Thanksgiving.
According to Manta.com, MTS has annual sales of less than $500,000 and employs 48 people. (http://www.manta.com/c/mm8zvyz/marino-transportation-service) It's been in business since 2000.
I can imagine co-founder Nicholas Marino (whose picture is at http://www.gomts.com/) looking around his Thanksgiving table today innocently as his family discusses the tar spill. "'But those who did it know their blame, and I'm sure that the guilt you feel is far worse than any punishment you might receive. Now, don't you feel terrible? Don't you feel remorse for what you have done? Well, that's all I'm going to say about poor Flick.'
"Ralphie as Adult: [narrating] Adults loved to say things like that but kids knew better. We knew darn well it was always better not to get caught." (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085334/quotes#qt0348955)
The Ralphie look won't work for the NTSB and state police.