A massive multi-vehicle crash involving three commercial tractor-trailers, tour bus, and passenger vehicle resulted in at least 5 deaths and the closure of a nearly 100-mile stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike between New Stanton and Breezewood early Sunday morning.
Authorities report at least 60 victims were also transported to local hospitals.
Tragic Turnpike Pile-Up: What We Know
Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) – an agency which investigates large-scale car accidents and commercial vehicle / airline crashes – have been investigating the wreck and have released several details.
Here’s what we know so far:
- The deadly pile-up occurred early Sunday morning at approximately 3:30 a.m. on the westbound side of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
- Three commercial vehicles (including two tractor-trailers and a FedEx delivery truck) an Ohio Coach bus (which runs service from Ohio to New York), and a passenger vehicle were involved in the crash.
- Officials state the wreck occurred when the tour bus was unable to negotiate a corner while traveling on a downhill grade, struck an embankment, rolled over, and was subsequently struck by two tractor-trailers. Another commercial truck and a passenger vehicle then struck the crashed vehicles.
- At least 60 victims were treated at area hospitals; a number of victims were involved in the wreck were minors under 18.
- Among the 5 reported deaths were the driver of the Coach bus, two UPS drivers, and two bus passengers, one of whom was a 9-year old girl from Brooklyn, New York.
The Coach bus, owned by Z&D Tour, Inc. had been traveling to Cincinnati from a curbside terminal in New York’s Chinatown. Many of the victims were international visitors.
Commercial Vehicle Accidents: Major Risks, Devastating Consequences
Our legal team at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. is deeply troubled by Sunday’s tragic accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike – it is an all too familiar reminder of a similar large-scale accident which occurred on an icy, foggy section of the Virginia bridge two weeks ago. That wreck involved a series of chain-reaction crashes, injured over 50 victims, and resulted in a closure of the I-64 in both directions.
Though crashes of this magnitude are not “the norm,” they have become increasingly more common, and are today a greater cause for concern.
Tragedies like these, NTSB officials and safety advocates remind us, stem not only from the congestion and composition of modern-day vehicle transit – where busy highways see heavy traffic and larger commercial vehicles sharing the road with passenger cars – but also from systemic safety failures in the U.S. commercial trucking and vehicle industry. This includes poor oversight, vehicle maintenance deficiencies, and other trucking violations. Adverse weather and poor driving conditions during winter months only exacerbate these risks.
As reported by the NTSB, a team of 20 investigators will be collecting evidence from the crash for roughly a week, focusing on potential causes and contributing factors such as driver performance, motor carrier compliance, vehicle maintenance and mechanical function, and roadway design.
As officials continue their investigation, our legal team expresses our condolences for all affected. As a firm experienced in matters involving truck accidents, bus accidents, and serious auto accidents, we are available to help anyone with questions about their rights and the pursuit of justice.