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Lebanon man among 5 dead after massive crash on Pennsylvania Turnpike, at least 50 others injured

UPDATE (January 6): A Lebanon man is among the five people who died after a massive crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike that left at least 50 others injured. Den...
turnpike crash

UPDATE (January 6): A Lebanon man is among the five people who died after a massive crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike that left at least 50 others injured.

Dennis Kehler, 48, of Lebanon, was identified by Westmoreland County Coroner Kenneth Bacha as among the decedents from the crash.

Daniel Kepner, 53, of Lewistown, was also killed in the crash. Both men were UPS employees.

“Sadly, UPS confirms the identities of two of our drivers who are victims of this tragic incident,” reads a portion of the statement from the company. “Our drivers will be missed and our thoughts and prayers go out to their families.”

During the early stages of the investigation, police believed the crash occurred when the tour bus was traveling downhill and failed to negotiate a curve near mile marker 86.1 on Interstate 76 Westbound in Mount Pleasant Township.

This caused it to go up an embankment and rollover. It was then struck by two tractor-trailers and then a third tractor-trailer collided with the first two that had piled up.

Authorities say there was also another vehicle involved in the crash.

The three other deaths from the crash came from the tour bus:

  • Shuang Qing Feng, 58, of Flushing, New York
  • Eileen Zelis Aria, 35, of Bronx, New York
  • Jaremy Vazquez, 9, of Brooklyn, New York

Feng, the driver of the bus, and Aria and Vazquez, passengers, were all ejected from the bus, the NTSB said.

The remaining bus passengers and the occupants of the FedEx tractor trailer were taken to several hospitals. The points of contact for the hospitals are:

Forbes Hospital, Stephanie WAITE: phone 412-337-5484.

Frick Hospital, Thomas CHAKURDA: phone 724-832-4000.

Somerset Hospital, Sarah DEIST: phone 814-443-5000.

The coroner says toxicology results from the crash won’t be available for several weeks and cause and manner of death will be pending further investigation into the incident.

Update (1:17 p.m.): During a press conference, Pennsylvania Trooper PIO Steve Limani and COO of the turnpike, Craig Shuey provided more information regarding the crash.

From the early stages of the investigation, authorities say the crash happened when the tour bus was traveling downhill and failed to negotiate a curve. This caused it to go up an embankment and rollover. It was then struck by two tractor-trailers and then a third tractor-trailer collided with the first two. Authorities say there was also another vehicle involved in the crash.

Trooper Limani confirmed the ages of the people involved to range from 7 to 60 years-old.

He also identified the tour bus company as Z and D Tour, which was on its way to Cincinnati, Ohio from Rockaway, New Jersey.

The scene of the crash is a tangled mess of vehicles and authorities still haven’t been able to reach all of the people in the vehicles, according to Trooper Limani.

That is all the information that was released by the State Police as it is still too early in the investigation to determine the cause and factors of the crash.

COO of the turnpike, Shuey, said that area of the turnpike had been treated with salt and cinder since 9 p.m. on Saturday night and he estimated that it was treated about once an hour since that time.

Both Limani and Shuey said they expect the roads to continue to be closed for several hours as the investigation continues.

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A massive pileup involving tractor-trailers, a tour bus and passenger cars killed five people and injured at least 50 others Sunday morning, authorities said.

The crash happened around 3:34 a.m. Sunday on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Mount Pleasant Township, the Westmoreland County Department of Public Safety said.

“Crash involves 2 tractor trailers, a tour bus and passenger vehicles. Turnpike is closed in both directions from New Stanton (#75) to Breezewood (#161). A prolonged closure likely,” tweeted Pennsylvania Turnpike spokesman Carl DeFebo.

County coroner Ken Bacha said five people were found dead at the scene, and at least 50 people were injured.

Eleven patients from the crash were taken to Forbes Hospital in Monroeville, Allegheny County, hospital spokeswoman Stephanie Waite said.

One patient was in critical condition, and 10 are in fair condition, Waite said. The ages of the patients were not immediately available.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear.