A southbound tractor-trailer hauling small bits of rubber crashed into the median on the Maine Turnpike on Tuesday, causing an early-afternoon traffic delay.

Timothy Bernard, 54, of Orland, lost control of his truck and crashed into the median near mile 49 around 11:30 a.m., said State Police Trooper Roger Teachout. Bernard said he had a tire blow but Teachout said there was no evidence of that. All the tires on the driver’s side ruptured when the truck struck with the guardrail.

The crash scattered debris across the passing lanes in both directions between the northernmost Portland exit and the first Falmouth exit, slowing traffic in the area. The guardrail also ruptured one of the truck’s fuel tanks, spilling 150 to 175 gallons of diesel, which had to be cleaned up by a contractor.

Bernard, who was not hurt, was charged with failing to maintain control of his vehicle, Teachout said.

A second crash, this one involving three vehicles and causing injuries, was reported less than two hours later, also at mile 49.

Robert Peters, 43, of Topsham, was driving a Dodge Stratus that collided with a Ford Taurus, which had stopped for traffic, Teachout said. The driver of the Taurus received cuts to his face and his 9-year-old son complained of a headache. The Taurus was pushed into an Audi.

Peters was charged with following too closely and failure to control his vehicle.

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

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Twitter: @Mainehenchman