A Bridgewater woman was one of three people who were killed Saturday morning in a 64-vehicle crash on Interstate 78 in central Pennsylvania. NJ.com reports.
Francisca V. Pear, 54, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash that sent more than 70 people to the hospital, Pennsylvania State Police said.
Also pronounced dead at the scene were Kenneth J. Lesko, 50, of Bethpage, N.Y., and Alfred Dean Kinnick, 57, of Limestone, Tenn.
The major crash occurred shortly before 9:30 a.m. on the westbound lanes of I-78 in Bethel Township, Pa., State Police said. Bethel is about 75 miles northwest of Philadelphia.
The wreckage from the pileup shut down both lanes of the highway overnight. The eastbound lanes of the interstate were reopened just before 5 a.m. on Sunday, followed by the westbound lanes at 7 a.m.
A dozen commercial vehicles, including tractor-trailers and box trucks, were involved in the crash. Police also had to respond to numerous secondary crashes.
Among those in the pileup were 12 members and three coaches of the Penn State Lehigh Valley men’s basketball team. The team was on its way home from a game in New Kensington, Pa., when their charter bus was hit by a tractor-trailer. None of the members suffered serious injuries, but were taken to the hospital for precautionary measures. They have all since been released from the hospital, the school said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.
Initial reports indicated that a snow squall might have contributed to the crash, Trooper Adam Reed told The Associated Press.
A driver in the crash, Raul Jardine, told pennlive.com he was driving along the interstate when he reached a sudden stop in traffic during whiteout conditions. His car was then struck from behind, but he was not injured.
“It was just a bunch of trucks in the middle of the highway, crushed,” the Allentown, Pennsylvania, resident told the website.
At least 73 people were taken to area hospitals. Representatives from the hospitals told pennlive.com that a majority of those patients suffered minor injuries in the crash.
Nearly two-dozen firefighters and EMS assisted at the scene. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Lebanon County Red Cross and EMA officials , Salvation Army and the Lebanon County Coroner’s Office also responded to the crash.
Eight towing companies helped remove the disabled vehicles.
The Pennsylvania State Police applauded the efforts of the various agencies that assisted at the scene.
“With a crash of this magnitude, an outstanding effort from these many agencies made it possible to stabilize the scene, treat the critically-wounded and rescue the affected individuals with the primary focus on preservation of life,” State Police said in a news release.
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