Pa. Turnpike Crash: Multi-vehicle accident, with fatalities, shuts down highway in W. Pa.

    (Screen Capture via WFMZ-TV)

    This just in from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission:

    The Associated Press reports:

    At least five people were killed and dozens were injured in a crash early Sunday involving multiple vehicles on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, a transportation official said.

    The fatal crash involving a tour bus, two tractor-trailers and passenger vehicles also injured at least 60 people, according to Pennsylvania Turnpike spokesman Carl DeFebo. He said in a tweet the tour bus flipped on its side.

    DeFebo said a coroner confirmed five fatalities at the scene, which happened in Westmoreland County, around 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of Pittsburgh.

    There were 25 victims, ranging in age from 7 to 52 years old, transported to Excela Frick Hospital in Mt. Pleasant, Excela Health spokeswoman Robin Jennings said. Nine of those patients are under the age of 18.

    At least one of the 25 victims initially sent to Excela was transported to a nearby trauma center and the rest of the patients’ conditions were not known, Jennings said.

    Details of what caused the accident were not immediately available, and the National Transportation Safety Board investigators were called to the scene. The National Weather Service forecast for Westmoreland County early Sunday listed light unknown precipitation and an air temperature just below freezing. DeFebo said it was “premature” to say if weather was a factor in the crash.

    It is likely that at least a portion of the turnpike will be closed for the rest of the day, DeFebo said.

    John L. Micek
    John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. He's been covering Pennsylvania politics for more than 20 years and most recently served as Opinion Editor at PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Micek's commentary is syndicated to more than 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. And he's a regular contributor to a host of broadcast outlets in Pennsylvania and abroad.