Vehicle fire, then crash close Pa. turnpike lanes

Posted: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 6:57 am
|


Updated: 9:07 am, Tue Apr 1, 2014.

Vehicle fire, then crash close Pa. turnpike lanes

Associated Press |


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DONEGAL, Pa. (AP) — The westbound lanes of the Pennsylvania Turnpike between Somerset and Donegal were expected to reopen at dawn after a vehicle fire and a related crash closed them overnight.

The lane restrictions began the vehicle fire was reported about 9:45 p.m. Monday at mile marker 100.

But the situation got worse after a turnpike service truck responded to the scene, only to be hit by a tractor-trailer which caught fire shortly after 10:30 p.m.

That prompted officials to close the westbound turnpike between Somerset, at mile marker 110, and Donegal, and mile marker 91.

Crews expected to have the road clear by daybreak Tuesday.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014 6:57 am.

Updated: 9:07 am.

Vehicle fire, then crash close Pa. turnpike lanes – The Courier

Posted: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 6:57 am
|


Updated: 10:00 am, Tue Apr 1, 2014.

Vehicle fire, then crash close Pa. turnpike lanes

Associated Press |


0 comments

DONEGAL, Pa. (AP) — The westbound lanes of the Pennsylvania Turnpike between Somerset and Donegal were expected to reopen at dawn after a vehicle fire and a related crash closed them overnight.


The lane restrictions began the vehicle fire was reported about 9:45 p.m. Monday at mile marker 100.

But the situation got worse after a turnpike service truck responded to the scene, only to be hit by a tractor-trailer which caught fire shortly after 10:30 p.m.

That prompted officials to close the westbound turnpike between Somerset, at mile marker 110, and Donegal, and mile marker 91.

Crews expected to have the road clear by daybreak Tuesday.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

on

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 6:57 am.

Updated: 10:00 am.

Pa. lacrosse team wins 1 year after bus crash

GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — It was a convincing win on Sunday on the one-year anniversary of a tragic day for the Seton Hill University women’s lacrosse team.

“We’re playing with a lot of inspiration, with a lot of emotion,” coach Courtney Grove said.

Those feelings poured out during a moment of silence before the game against Tiffin University and then during the match that Seton Hill won, 18-10.

A few players wiped away tears during the brief quiet time to remember their pregnant coach, Kristina Quigley, 30, and bus driver Anthony Guaetta, 61, of Johnstown. Both, along with Quigley’s unborn son, were killed when the tour bus the team was traveling in the morning of March 16, 2013, crashed along the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Cumberland County.

Nineteen players were injured, and the 2013 season was canceled. The team was headed to Millersville University for a game.

Players have dedicated this season to Quigley.

“I will never forget the words of wisdom we all received from her about lacrosse and about life,” said redshirt sophomore Emily Fagan of Calgary, Canada, in a statement written prior to the game. “Those words are helping all of us remember what is truly important, not only on the field, but off it as well.”

Fagan scored four goals on Sunday.

Dressed in their home uniforms of white tops and black skirts with white trim, it didn’t take long for the Griffins to get into game mode.

The starting lineup was announced with music by hard-rock band AC/DC playing in the background and, within minutes, the ball was in the opposing team’s net.

About 125 spectators cheered on the team during a chilly day under cloudy skies — a large crowd considering it was the final day of the university’s spring break, Athletic Director Chris Snyder said. Many of the people in the stands were family members of players and university athletes, including the men’s lacrosse team.

“I think just them getting back on the field … was a big deal for them,” Snyder said.

Scheduling a game on the one-year anniversary is part of the positive work Grove has done in taking over the team and preparing members mentally and physically for the season, he said.

A game is “a break from the real world” for the players, Snyder said.

The team has tried to keep the season “as normal as can be,” said Grove, who played with Quigley on Duquesne University’s lacrosse team. Grove helped recruit some of the Seton Hill players before heading to Marquette to coach. She returned for this season.

Investigators believe Guaetta fell unconscious when he suffered a medical emergency a mile east of the Carlisle interchange, causing the bus to veer off the road and into a tree. Quigley, six months pregnant with her second son, was seated behind him, and many of the players.

“I think we have shown a great level of competitiveness so far,” redshirt senior Rachel Hilbert of Perkiomenville, Montgomery County, said in a written statement. “We are using what happened last March as motivation and inspiration.”

Hilbert graduated last year but decided to return and take on another major to play lacrosse during the 2014 season. She scored a goal on Sunday.

Team members attended a Mass on campus on Sunday evening in memory of Quigley, her unborn son and Guaetta.

The players are a “strong group of girls” who have been able to rely on each other and release some of their emotions on the field, Grove said.

“I think that’s why we’re playing so well,” she said.

The team’s record is 4-1 this season with 12 games remaining, nearly all of which will be competition within the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. It’s the team’s first year in the conference.

“It’s going to be tough, but it’s just going to make us better,” Grove said.

Redshirt senior Morgan Cain graduated last year and took on more courses to play. She had a hat trick with three goals on Sunday.

“Coach Quigley was so enthused about lacrosse — she lived the sport in everything she did — and she considered this team to be part of her family,” Cain, of Fairmont, W.Va., said in a written statement. “We were her girls and we will do everything we can to honor her memory.”

Rounding out the Griffins’ scoring were redshirt junior Emma Simmers of Pittsburgh with six goals; Alessandra Nicholas, a redshirt sophomore from Pittsburgh, with two; and one each from freshman Charlotte Cunningham of Germantown, Md., and redshirt junior Elizabeth Otwell of Orchard Park, N.Y.

Their next match is Tuesday at Shepherd University in West Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

Western Pa. women’s lacrosse team wins 1 year after bus crash that killed …

GREENSBURG, Pennsylvania — It was a convincing win on Sunday on the one-year anniversary of a tragic day for the Seton Hill University women’s lacrosse team.

“We’re playing with a lot of inspiration, with a lot of emotion,” coach Courtney Grove said.

Those feelings poured out during a moment of silence before the game against Tiffin University and then during the match that Seton Hill won, 18-10.

A few players wiped away tears during the brief quiet time to remember their pregnant coach, Kristina Quigley, 30, and bus driver Anthony Guaetta, 61, of Johnstown. Both, along with Quigley’s unborn son, were killed when the tour bus the team was traveling in the morning of March 16, 2013, crashed along the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Cumberland County.

Nineteen players were injured, and the 2013 season was canceled. The team was headed to Millersville University for a game.

Players have dedicated this season to Quigley.

“I will never forget the words of wisdom we all received from her about lacrosse and about life,” said redshirt sophomore Emily Fagan of Calgary, Canada, in a statement written prior to the game. “Those words are helping all of us remember what is truly important, not only on the field, but off it as well.”

Fagan scored four goals on Sunday.

Dressed in their home uniforms of white tops and black skirts with white trim, it didn’t take long for the Griffins to get into game mode.

The starting lineup was announced with music by hard-rock band AC/DC playing in the background and, within minutes, the ball was in the opposing team’s net.

About 125 spectators cheered on the team during a chilly day under cloudy skies — a large crowd considering it was the final day of the university’s spring break, Athletic Director Chris Snyder said. Many of the people in the stands were family members of players and university athletes, including the men’s lacrosse team.

“I think just them getting back on the field … was a big deal for them,” Snyder said.

Scheduling a game on the one-year anniversary is part of the positive work Grove has done in taking over the team and preparing members mentally and physically for the season, he said.

A game is “a break from the real world” for the players, Snyder said.

The team has tried to keep the season “as normal as can be,” said Grove, who played with Quigley on Duquesne University’s lacrosse team. Grove helped recruit some of the Seton Hill players before heading to Marquette to coach. She returned for this season.

Investigators believe Guaetta fell unconscious when he suffered a medical emergency a mile east of the Carlisle interchange, causing the bus to veer off the road and into a tree. Quigley, six months pregnant with her second son, was seated behind him, and many of the players.

“I think we have shown a great level of competitiveness so far,” redshirt senior Rachel Hilbert of Perkiomenville, Montgomery County, said in a written statement. “We are using what happened last March as motivation and inspiration.”

Hilbert graduated last year but decided to return and take on another major to play lacrosse during the 2014 season. She scored a goal on Sunday.

Team members attended a Mass on campus on Sunday evening in memory of Quigley, her unborn son and Guaetta.

The players are a “strong group of girls” who have been able to rely on each other and release some of their emotions on the field, Grove said.

“I think that’s why we’re playing so well,” she said.

The team’s record is 4-1 this season with 12 games remaining, nearly all of which will be competition within the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. It’s the team’s first year in the conference.

“It’s going to be tough, but it’s just going to make us better,” Grove said.

Redshirt senior Morgan Cain graduated last year and took on more courses to play. She had a hat trick with three goals on Sunday.

“Coach Quigley was so enthused about lacrosse — she lived the sport in everything she did — and she considered this team to be part of her family,” Cain, of Fairmont, West Virginia, said in a written statement. “We were her girls and we will do everything we can to honor her memory.”

Rounding out the Griffins’ scoring were redshirt junior Emma Simmers of Pittsburgh with six goals; Alessandra Nicholas, a redshirt sophomore from Pittsburgh, with two; and one each from freshman Charlotte Cunningham of Germantown, Maryland, and redshirt junior Elizabeth Otwell of Orchard Park, New York

Their next match is Tuesday at Shepherd University in West Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.


Online:

http://bit.ly/1d76TJP

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reachedat 724-837-5374 or

Western Pa. women’s lacrosse team wins 1 year after bus crash that killed …

GREENSBURG, Pennsylvania — It was a convincing win on Sunday on the one-year anniversary of a tragic day for the Seton Hill University women’s lacrosse team.

“We’re playing with a lot of inspiration, with a lot of emotion,” coach Courtney Grove said.

Those feelings poured out during a moment of silence before the game against Tiffin University and then during the match that Seton Hill won, 18-10.

A few players wiped away tears during the brief quiet time to remember their pregnant coach, Kristina Quigley, 30, and bus driver Anthony Guaetta, 61, of Johnstown. Both, along with Quigley’s unborn son, were killed when the tour bus the team was traveling in the morning of March 16, 2013, crashed along the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Cumberland County.

Nineteen players were injured, and the 2013 season was canceled. The team was headed to Millersville University for a game.

Players have dedicated this season to Quigley.

“I will never forget the words of wisdom we all received from her about lacrosse and about life,” said redshirt sophomore Emily Fagan of Calgary, Canada, in a statement written prior to the game. “Those words are helping all of us remember what is truly important, not only on the field, but off it as well.”

Fagan scored four goals on Sunday.

Dressed in their home uniforms of white tops and black skirts with white trim, it didn’t take long for the Griffins to get into game mode.

The starting lineup was announced with music by hard-rock band AC/DC playing in the background and, within minutes, the ball was in the opposing team’s net.

About 125 spectators cheered on the team during a chilly day under cloudy skies — a large crowd considering it was the final day of the university’s spring break, Athletic Director Chris Snyder said. Many of the people in the stands were family members of players and university athletes, including the men’s lacrosse team.

“I think just them getting back on the field … was a big deal for them,” Snyder said.

Scheduling a game on the one-year anniversary is part of the positive work Grove has done in taking over the team and preparing members mentally and physically for the season, he said.

A game is “a break from the real world” for the players, Snyder said.

The team has tried to keep the season “as normal as can be,” said Grove, who played with Quigley on Duquesne University’s lacrosse team. Grove helped recruit some of the Seton Hill players before heading to Marquette to coach. She returned for this season.

Investigators believe Guaetta fell unconscious when he suffered a medical emergency a mile east of the Carlisle interchange, causing the bus to veer off the road and into a tree. Quigley, six months pregnant with her second son, was seated behind him, and many of the players.

“I think we have shown a great level of competitiveness so far,” redshirt senior Rachel Hilbert of Perkiomenville, Montgomery County, said in a written statement. “We are using what happened last March as motivation and inspiration.”

Hilbert graduated last year but decided to return and take on another major to play lacrosse during the 2014 season. She scored a goal on Sunday.

Team members attended a Mass on campus on Sunday evening in memory of Quigley, her unborn son and Guaetta.

The players are a “strong group of girls” who have been able to rely on each other and release some of their emotions on the field, Grove said.

“I think that’s why we’re playing so well,” she said.

The team’s record is 4-1 this season with 12 games remaining, nearly all of which will be competition within the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. It’s the team’s first year in the conference.

“It’s going to be tough, but it’s just going to make us better,” Grove said.

Redshirt senior Morgan Cain graduated last year and took on more courses to play. She had a hat trick with three goals on Sunday.

“Coach Quigley was so enthused about lacrosse — she lived the sport in everything she did — and she considered this team to be part of her family,” Cain, of Fairmont, West Virginia, said in a written statement. “We were her girls and we will do everything we can to honor her memory.”

Rounding out the Griffins’ scoring were redshirt junior Emma Simmers of Pittsburgh with six goals; Alessandra Nicholas, a redshirt sophomore from Pittsburgh, with two; and one each from freshman Charlotte Cunningham of Germantown, Maryland, and redshirt junior Elizabeth Otwell of Orchard Park, New York

Their next match is Tuesday at Shepherd University in West Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.


Online:

http://bit.ly/1d76TJP

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reachedat 724-837-5374 or

Pa. lacrosse team wins 1 year after bus crash

GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — It was a convincing win on Sunday on the one-year anniversary of a tragic day for the Seton Hill University women’s lacrosse team.

“We’re playing with a lot of inspiration, with a lot of emotion,” coach Courtney Grove said.

Those feelings poured out during a moment of silence before the game against Tiffin University and then during the match that Seton Hill won, 18-10.

A few players wiped away tears during the brief quiet time to remember their pregnant coach, Kristina Quigley, 30, and bus driver Anthony Guaetta, 61, of Johnstown. Both, along with Quigley’s unborn son, were killed when the tour bus the team was traveling in the morning of March 16, 2013, crashed along the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Cumberland County.

Nineteen players were injured, and the 2013 season was canceled. The team was headed to Millersville University for a game.

Players have dedicated this season to Quigley.

“I will never forget the words of wisdom we all received from her about lacrosse and about life,” said redshirt sophomore Emily Fagan of Calgary, Canada, in a statement written prior to the game. “Those words are helping all of us remember what is truly important, not only on the field, but off it as well.”

Fagan scored four goals on Sunday.

Dressed in their home uniforms of white tops and black skirts with white trim, it didn’t take long for the Griffins to get into game mode.

The starting lineup was announced with music by hard-rock band AC/DC playing in the background and, within minutes, the ball was in the opposing team’s net.

About 125 spectators cheered on the team during a chilly day under cloudy skies — a large crowd considering it was the final day of the university’s spring break, Athletic Director Chris Snyder said. Many of the people in the stands were family members of players and university athletes, including the men’s lacrosse team.

“I think just them getting back on the field … was a big deal for them,” Snyder said.

Scheduling a game on the one-year anniversary is part of the positive work Grove has done in taking over the team and preparing members mentally and physically for the season, he said.

A game is “a break from the real world” for the players, Snyder said.

The team has tried to keep the season “as normal as can be,” said Grove, who played with Quigley on Duquesne University’s lacrosse team. Grove helped recruit some of the Seton Hill players before heading to Marquette to coach. She returned for this season.

Investigators believe Guaetta fell unconscious when he suffered a medical emergency a mile east of the Carlisle interchange, causing the bus to veer off the road and into a tree. Quigley, six months pregnant with her second son, was seated behind him, and many of the players.

“I think we have shown a great level of competitiveness so far,” redshirt senior Rachel Hilbert of Perkiomenville, Montgomery County, said in a written statement. “We are using what happened last March as motivation and inspiration.”

Hilbert graduated last year but decided to return and take on another major to play lacrosse during the 2014 season. She scored a goal on Sunday.

Team members attended a Mass on campus on Sunday evening in memory of Quigley, her unborn son and Guaetta.

The players are a “strong group of girls” who have been able to rely on each other and release some of their emotions on the field, Grove said.

“I think that’s why we’re playing so well,” she said.

The team’s record is 4-1 this season with 12 games remaining, nearly all of which will be competition within the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. It’s the team’s first year in the conference.

“It’s going to be tough, but it’s just going to make us better,” Grove said.

Redshirt senior Morgan Cain graduated last year and took on more courses to play. She had a hat trick with three goals on Sunday.

“Coach Quigley was so enthused about lacrosse — she lived the sport in everything she did — and she considered this team to be part of her family,” Cain, of Fairmont, W.Va., said in a written statement. “We were her girls and we will do everything we can to honor her memory.”

Rounding out the Griffins’ scoring were redshirt junior Emma Simmers of Pittsburgh with six goals; Alessandra Nicholas, a redshirt sophomore from Pittsburgh, with two; and one each from freshman Charlotte Cunningham of Germantown, Md., and redshirt junior Elizabeth Otwell of Orchard Park, N.Y.

Their next match is Tuesday at Shepherd University in West Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

___

Online:

http://bit.ly/1d76TJP

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reachedat 724-837-5374 or

Western Pa. women’s lacrosse team wins 1 year after bus crash that killed …

GREENSBURG, Pennsylvania — It was a convincing win on Sunday on the one-year anniversary of a tragic day for the Seton Hill University women’s lacrosse team.

“We’re playing with a lot of inspiration, with a lot of emotion,” coach Courtney Grove said.

Those feelings poured out during a moment of silence before the game against Tiffin University and then during the match that Seton Hill won, 18-10.

A few players wiped away tears during the brief quiet time to remember their pregnant coach, Kristina Quigley, 30, and bus driver Anthony Guaetta, 61, of Johnstown. Both, along with Quigley’s unborn son, were killed when the tour bus the team was traveling in the morning of March 16, 2013, crashed along the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Cumberland County.

Nineteen players were injured, and the 2013 season was canceled. The team was headed to Millersville University for a game.

Players have dedicated this season to Quigley.

“I will never forget the words of wisdom we all received from her about lacrosse and about life,” said redshirt sophomore Emily Fagan of Calgary, Canada, in a statement written prior to the game. “Those words are helping all of us remember what is truly important, not only on the field, but off it as well.”

Fagan scored four goals on Sunday.

Dressed in their home uniforms of white tops and black skirts with white trim, it didn’t take long for the Griffins to get into game mode.

The starting lineup was announced with music by hard-rock band AC/DC playing in the background and, within minutes, the ball was in the opposing team’s net.

About 125 spectators cheered on the team during a chilly day under cloudy skies — a large crowd considering it was the final day of the university’s spring break, Athletic Director Chris Snyder said. Many of the people in the stands were family members of players and university athletes, including the men’s lacrosse team.

“I think just them getting back on the field … was a big deal for them,” Snyder said.

Scheduling a game on the one-year anniversary is part of the positive work Grove has done in taking over the team and preparing members mentally and physically for the season, he said.

A game is “a break from the real world” for the players, Snyder said.

The team has tried to keep the season “as normal as can be,” said Grove, who played with Quigley on Duquesne University’s lacrosse team. Grove helped recruit some of the Seton Hill players before heading to Marquette to coach. She returned for this season.

Investigators believe Guaetta fell unconscious when he suffered a medical emergency a mile east of the Carlisle interchange, causing the bus to veer off the road and into a tree. Quigley, six months pregnant with her second son, was seated behind him, and many of the players.

“I think we have shown a great level of competitiveness so far,” redshirt senior Rachel Hilbert of Perkiomenville, Montgomery County, said in a written statement. “We are using what happened last March as motivation and inspiration.”

Hilbert graduated last year but decided to return and take on another major to play lacrosse during the 2014 season. She scored a goal on Sunday.

Team members attended a Mass on campus on Sunday evening in memory of Quigley, her unborn son and Guaetta.

The players are a “strong group of girls” who have been able to rely on each other and release some of their emotions on the field, Grove said.

“I think that’s why we’re playing so well,” she said.

The team’s record is 4-1 this season with 12 games remaining, nearly all of which will be competition within the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. It’s the team’s first year in the conference.

“It’s going to be tough, but it’s just going to make us better,” Grove said.

Redshirt senior Morgan Cain graduated last year and took on more courses to play. She had a hat trick with three goals on Sunday.

“Coach Quigley was so enthused about lacrosse — she lived the sport in everything she did — and she considered this team to be part of her family,” Cain, of Fairmont, West Virginia, said in a written statement. “We were her girls and we will do everything we can to honor her memory.”

Rounding out the Griffins’ scoring were redshirt junior Emma Simmers of Pittsburgh with six goals; Alessandra Nicholas, a redshirt sophomore from Pittsburgh, with two; and one each from freshman Charlotte Cunningham of Germantown, Maryland, and redshirt junior Elizabeth Otwell of Orchard Park, New York

Their next match is Tuesday at Shepherd University in West Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.


Online:

http://bit.ly/1d76TJP

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reachedat 724-837-5374 or

21 injured in Pa. Turnpike pile-up of up to 100 vehicles [photos]

[UPDATE 1:00 p.m.] A massive pileup, estimated to have involved as many as 100 vehicles, caused a traffic nightmare along the icy Pennsylvania Turnpike just hours after a speed restriction was lifted Friday morning.

Multiple accidents left dozens of vehicles wrecked, nearly two dozen motorists injured and hundreds of people stranded along a 5-mile stretch of toll road between the Willow Grove and Bensalem/U.S. 1 exits in the Feasterville-Trevose area of Bucks and Montgomery Counties.

“My heart was just like … oh my God. There’s no words to express it,” said Maria Schoeler who was stuck directly behind a multi-vehicle wreck. “It’s pretty crazy. It’s something you don’t expect with this many vehicles. It’s pretty treacherous.”

Turnpike Commission spokesman Bill Capone said the first wreck — including 10 cars and five tractor-trailers — happened around 8:25 a.m. about one mile from the Bensalem Interchange.

From there, another series of other crashes occurred within moments. The wreckage included at least 16 cars and SUVs piled up behind two big rigs, an overturned van. A jackknifed tractor-trailer, also involved in that crash, had multiple cars wedged between and underneath it. A moving van sideways on the partially slushy roadway.

As many as 100 cars, trucks and SUVs in total were involved in the wreckage — hundreds of other cars were left at a standstill on the roadway between the crashes.

Eye-witness account

Pedro Leal says he was in the middle of his normal morning commute on the turnpike when the collision unfolded ahead of him. He says he was about a mile away from the start of the chain reaction when he had to slam on his brakes.

“In front of me there were three or four cars, about 50 feet in front of me,” Leal said. “We all kind of slammed our brakes. None of us hit anybody, but a couple of the people in front of us did. An older Bronco hit a Ford Focus, and that’s completely mangled.”

Leal says he spent the first few hours after the collision walking around just surveying the damage, which in his opinion started from poor road conditions. He took picturesand posted them to social media.

“I think it was the fact that people were going too quick and reached an ice patch, or a tractor-trailer might have hit a really big ice patch and he began to jackknife and fishtail, and a lot of people tried not to hit him and slammed their breaks also.”

 

Multiple chain reactions, multiple pile-ups

“It looked like multiple cars couldn’t stop,” said SkyForce10′s Jeremy Haas.

“We just started seeing a lot of minor accidents, a lot of cars trying to brake but they couldn’t brake in time.”

“We could see that the road had a lot of frozen ice on it,” said Lisa Terreri.

Terreri and her husband were able to stop, winding up stuck between two of the crash scenes.

A second pileup further east involved nearly 20-vehicle wreck that included two tractor-trailers, a FedEx truck, cars and SUVs. A man appeared to be caught in his car for more than an hour after the crash. That man was helped onto a stretcher by first responders before being led away in an ambulance.

24 people were transported to local hospitals. Abington Memorial Hospital said they received 16 patients — five were trauma cases — three went to Doylestown Hospital and five others went to St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne, Pa.

Abington Dr. John Kelly said the most severely injured were likely sent to Abington and that most of the injured people weren’t severely hurt.

The crashes stopped traffic eastbound and slowed traffic in the westbound lanes — westbound traffic was intermittently stopped so that emergency personnel could respond. It took more than one hour after the wrecks for emergency crews to reach many of the scenes. One NBC10 viewer sent in a photo of an ambulance stuck in traffic that snarled all the way back to the Northeast Extension (almost 10 miles away).

The Turnpike was closed at Willow Grove and police were forcing everyone off at that exit.

How to avoiding the wreckage

There is no direct alternate route for the Turnpike but for people trying to avoid the wreck, the Turnpike Commission suggested that motorists exit at Willow Grove then head northbound on Route 611 and turn onto Street Road (Route 132) until it intersects with U.S. Route 1 in the Bensalem area.

From the Fort Washington (Route 309) Interchange you can take Route 309 northbound to the Norristown Road Exit. From there go right on Norristown Road and turn right on Horsham Road before going left on northbound Route 611.

Ice, sun glare and driving too close are likely causes

No word yet on exact causes of the wrecks but the roadway appeared to be icy after more snow overnight — you could literally see ice built up on the asphalt.

Pennsylvania State Police said that they believe that drivers driving too close and too fast for the conditions possibly played a role.

A snow-related speed restriction, which was for much of the roadway, was removed around 6 a.m. Friday. A nor’easter left around 1 foot of snow in the area of the crashes.

NBC10 First Alert Weather meteorologist Bill Henley said sun glare possibly played a role in the wreck. Henley said drivers were traveling directly towards the brilliant early morning sun.

Pedro Leal agrees. ”I drive this route every Monday through Friday. The glare is always pretty bad, and people usually slow down, but I guess they didn’t see the ice they usually see, and they all just started piling up,” he said.

‘Plan X’

Local municipalities like the Bensalem Police Department were also brought in to respond to the crash.

The Turnpike Commission enacted Plan X shortly after the wreck.

“Plan X,” is the method by which the Commission, in emergency situations such as multiple vehicle accidents, closes certain sections of the Turnpike and reroutes traffic around the affected sections. The Commission has established pre-approved routes for both commercial and passenger vehicles. Turnpike personnel at affected interchanges will distribute written re-routing directional cards to assist exiting customers.

“Plan X” also means that crews expect it to take more than an hour to clear the roadway.

AAA urged motorists to turn off cars to conserve fuel and limit battery usage. Despite the advice many motorists could be seen standing outside their cars using their cellphones.

Some of the stuck motorists were headed to work, which could help them stay comfortable while waiting out the wreck.

“I have provisions,” said Dana Goodman who was headed to his job in Mount Holly. “I have my lunch here with me sitting in the car. I pack every day.”

After a couple of hours, motorists stuck towards the end of the backup began turning around and driving the wrong way. It wasn’t clear if police directed them to U-turn.

Capone said that authorities were directing stuck motorists off at an access road gate in Willow Grove.

Around 11:30 a.m. some cars on the front-end of the crashes began to get moving past the wrecks as well.

After cars that can move are moved, the next step is a massive towing process.

“Given the fact that many of these vehicles are damaged to the point where they can’t be driven from the scene there are a number that have to be towed,” said Capone.

Minutes before the eastbound wrecks, a multi-car crash blocked traffic westbound. The cars crashed around 7:40 a.m. along the westbound lanes of the Turnpike in Upper Moreland Township, a couple miles ahead of the Willow Grove/Route 611 Interchange.

It’s unknown if anyone was hurt in that wreck.

WHYY’s Tom MacDonald also contributed to this report.

21 injured in Pa. Turnpike pile-up of up to 100 vehicles [photos]

[UPDATE 1:00 p.m.] A massive pileup, estimated to have involved as many as 100 vehicles, caused a traffic nightmare along the icy Pennsylvania Turnpike just hours after a speed restriction was lifted Friday morning.

Multiple accidents left dozens of vehicles wrecked, nearly two dozen motorists injured and hundreds of people stranded along a 5-mile stretch of toll road between the Willow Grove and Bensalem/U.S. 1 exits in the Feasterville-Trevose area of Bucks and Montgomery Counties.

“My heart was just like … oh my God. There’s no words to express it,” said Maria Schoeler who was stuck directly behind a multi-vehicle wreck. “It’s pretty crazy. It’s something you don’t expect with this many vehicles. It’s pretty treacherous.”

Turnpike Commission spokesman Bill Capone said the first wreck — including 10 cars and five tractor-trailers — happened around 8:25 a.m. about one mile from the Bensalem Interchange.

From there, another series of other crashes occurred within moments. The wreckage included at least 16 cars and SUVs piled up behind two big rigs, an overturned van. A jackknifed tractor-trailer, also involved in that crash, had multiple cars wedged between and underneath it. A moving van sideways on the partially slushy roadway.

As many as 100 cars, trucks and SUVs in total were involved in the wreckage — hundreds of other cars were left at a standstill on the roadway between the crashes.

Eye-witness account

Pedro Leal says he was in the middle of his normal morning commute on the turnpike when the collision unfolded ahead of him. He says he was about a mile away from the start of the chain reaction when he had to slam on his brakes.

“In front of me there were three or four cars, about 50 feet in front of me,” Leal said. “We all kind of slammed our brakes. None of us hit anybody, but a couple of the people in front of us did. An older Bronco hit a Ford Focus, and that’s completely mangled.”

Leal says he spent the first few hours after the collision walking around just surveying the damage, which in his opinion started from poor road conditions. He took picturesand posted them to social media.

“I think it was the fact that people were going too quick and reached an ice patch, or a tractor-trailer might have hit a really big ice patch and he began to jackknife and fishtail, and a lot of people tried not to hit him and slammed their breaks also.”

 

Multiple chain reactions, multiple pile-ups

“It looked like multiple cars couldn’t stop,” said SkyForce10′s Jeremy Haas.

“We just started seeing a lot of minor accidents, a lot of cars trying to brake but they couldn’t brake in time.”

“We could see that the road had a lot of frozen ice on it,” said Lisa Terreri.

Terreri and her husband were able to stop, winding up stuck between two of the crash scenes.

A second pileup further east involved nearly 20-vehicle wreck that included two tractor-trailers, a FedEx truck, cars and SUVs. A man appeared to be caught in his car for more than an hour after the crash. That man was helped onto a stretcher by first responders before being led away in an ambulance.

24 people were transported to local hospitals. Abington Memorial Hospital said they received 16 patients — five were trauma cases — three went to Doylestown Hospital and five others went to St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne, Pa.

Abington Dr. John Kelly said the most severely injured were likely sent to Abington and that most of the injured people weren’t severely hurt.

The crashes stopped traffic eastbound and slowed traffic in the westbound lanes — westbound traffic was intermittently stopped so that emergency personnel could respond. It took more than one hour after the wrecks for emergency crews to reach many of the scenes. One NBC10 viewer sent in a photo of an ambulance stuck in traffic that snarled all the way back to the Northeast Extension (almost 10 miles away).

The Turnpike was closed at Willow Grove and police were forcing everyone off at that exit.

How to avoiding the wreckage

There is no direct alternate route for the Turnpike but for people trying to avoid the wreck, the Turnpike Commission suggested that motorists exit at Willow Grove then head northbound on Route 611 and turn onto Street Road (Route 132) until it intersects with U.S. Route 1 in the Bensalem area.

From the Fort Washington (Route 309) Interchange you can take Route 309 northbound to the Norristown Road Exit. From there go right on Norristown Road and turn right on Horsham Road before going left on northbound Route 611.

Ice, sun glare and driving too close are likely causes

No word yet on exact causes of the wrecks but the roadway appeared to be icy after more snow overnight — you could literally see ice built up on the asphalt.

Pennsylvania State Police said that they believe that drivers driving too close and too fast for the conditions possibly played a role.

A snow-related speed restriction, which was for much of the roadway, was removed around 6 a.m. Friday. A nor’easter left around 1 foot of snow in the area of the crashes.

NBC10 First Alert Weather meteorologist Bill Henley said sun glare possibly played a role in the wreck. Henley said drivers were traveling directly towards the brilliant early morning sun.

Pedro Leal agrees. ”I drive this route every Monday through Friday. The glare is always pretty bad, and people usually slow down, but I guess they didn’t see the ice they usually see, and they all just started piling up,” he said.

‘Plan X’

Local municipalities like the Bensalem Police Department were also brought in to respond to the crash.

The Turnpike Commission enacted Plan X shortly after the wreck.

“Plan X,” is the method by which the Commission, in emergency situations such as multiple vehicle accidents, closes certain sections of the Turnpike and reroutes traffic around the affected sections. The Commission has established pre-approved routes for both commercial and passenger vehicles. Turnpike personnel at affected interchanges will distribute written re-routing directional cards to assist exiting customers.

“Plan X” also means that crews expect it to take more than an hour to clear the roadway.

AAA urged motorists to turn off cars to conserve fuel and limit battery usage. Despite the advice many motorists could be seen standing outside their cars using their cellphones.

Some of the stuck motorists were headed to work, which could help them stay comfortable while waiting out the wreck.

“I have provisions,” said Dana Goodman who was headed to his job in Mount Holly. “I have my lunch here with me sitting in the car. I pack every day.”

After a couple of hours, motorists stuck towards the end of the backup began turning around and driving the wrong way. It wasn’t clear if police directed them to U-turn.

Capone said that authorities were directing stuck motorists off at an access road gate in Willow Grove.

Around 11:30 a.m. some cars on the front-end of the crashes began to get moving past the wrecks as well.

After cars that can move are moved, the next step is a massive towing process.

“Given the fact that many of these vehicles are damaged to the point where they can’t be driven from the scene there are a number that have to be towed,” said Capone.

Minutes before the eastbound wrecks, a multi-car crash blocked traffic westbound. The cars crashed around 7:40 a.m. along the westbound lanes of the Turnpike in Upper Moreland Township, a couple miles ahead of the Willow Grove/Route 611 Interchange.

It’s unknown if anyone was hurt in that wreck.

WHYY’s Tom MacDonald also contributed to this report.

Trucks, dozens of cars crash on Pa. turnpike

Vehicles are piled up in an accident Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, in Bensalem, Pa. Traffic accidents involving multiple tractor trailers and dozens of cars have completely blocked one side of the Pennsylvania Turnpike outside Philadelphia and caused some injuries. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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