Five Dead, 60 Injured Following Vehicular Crash on Pennsylvania Turnpike

Pennsylvania Turnpike
PENNSYLVANIA - AUGUST 25: 'Welcome To The Pennsylvania Turnpike' signage on Interstate 76 on August 25, 2016 in Pennsylvania. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images) Getty

At least five people died and 60 were injured after a crash that involved two tractor trailers, a bus and several other vehicles in the westbound lanes of the Pennsylvania Turnpike early Sunday morning, according to a spokesperson.

The crash occurred at approximately 3:30 a.m. in Westmoreland County, which borders Allegheny County, where Pittsburgh is located, to the east. Reportedly, the bus was traveling from Rockaway, New Jersey, to Cincinnati, Ohio, according to The Associated Press.

Aerial footage of the site of the crash published on Twitter later in the morning by ABC affiliate WTAE-TV showed a pile-up of at least three trucks and a bus. The bus had been turned over to its side, and the cabs of at least two of the trucks appeared to have been separated from their trailers.

TURNPIKE CRASH: This is aerial video of a crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike involving a tour bus, tractor-trailers and passenger vehicle.

At least five people were killed in the crash, and over 50 were taken to area hospitals. LATEST >>

— WTAE-TV Pittsburgh (@WTAE) January 5, 2020

Carl DeFebo, the Pennsylvania Turnpike's director of public relations and marketing, confirmed that five people died and announced that around 60 people who had sustained injuries in the crash were moved to three separate hospitals in the area.

About 60 patients have been transported to three area hospitals in Westmoreland County due to multi-vehicle crash on @PA_Turnpike at milepost 86 westbound. Coroner has confirmed five fatalities. An 86-mile stretch of Turnpike still closed from New Stanton to Breezewood exits.

— Carl DeFebo (@cdefebo) January 5, 2020

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that those hospitals were Excela Health Frick Hospital, Forbes Hospital and locations of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. At least nine patients at Excela Health Frick Hospital are minors, according to the Post-Gazette. Stephanie Waite, a spokesperson for Forbes Hospital said that two patients were in critical condition, but that the rest were stable.

Truck driver Angela Maynard told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that she had been driving east on the turnpike with her driving partner when they came across the scene of the crash.

"I looked up at that hill there, and I could see lights. It looked like a lot of them," Maynard said. "There was no fire, just a lot of smoke at that point."

Maynard said that she called 911 and that she and her partner stopped to see if anyone was hurt. She spoke to one person who appeared to be floating in and out of consciousness, trying to keep him occupied until medical help arrived.

A passenger on the bus involved in the accident, who said he was traveling from New York City to Cincinnati, told a journalist for the local news station KDKA that the bus was hit three times by tractor trailers.

The precise cause of the crash is still under investigation and cannot yet be confirmed. However, Maynard said that the roads were "icy," and the Post-Gazette reported that some suspect road conditions may have played a part in the crash. DeFebo, on the other hand, said that it would be "premature" to point to the weather as a cause, according to The Associated Press.

The Post-Gazette also reported at least one truck from FedEx from and one from UPS were involved in the crash, as spokespeople from both companies confirmed Sunday afternoon.

"We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the individuals involved in this accident," a statement from FedEx published in The New York Times read. "There is no higher priority for FedEx Ground than safety, and we are cooperating fully with investigating authorities at this time."

"UPS is cooperating with authorities in the investigation and we express our deepest sympathies to the victims and their families and friends," UPS spokeswoman Kristen Petrella wrote in an emailed statement to the Post-Gazette.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf wrote on Twitter around 10:45 a.m. that he had learned of the turnpike accident and was "[k]eeping victims and their families in [his] prayers." He also lauded first responders and Pennsylvania State police for their role in keeping more people from losing their lives.

Saddened to learn of the fatal pileup crash on the @PA_Turnpike this morning. Keeping victims and their families in my prayers.

Efforts by @PAStatePolice and responders prevented further loss of life.

Drivers: Follow @PATurnpikeAlert for detour and closing updates. Be safe.

— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) January 5, 2020