MT. PLEASANT, Pa. — Five people were killed and about 60 others were injured in a crash involving three tractor trailers, a tour bus and a car on the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Mt. Pleasant.
The massive, deadly crash closed the turnpike in both directions between Exit 75 (New Stanton) and Exit 161 (Breezewood). According to state police, a passenger tour bus was headed to Cincinnati from New Jersey.
The bus was going down a hill on a curve when it hit an embankment, rolled over and was struck by two tractor-trailers traveling behind it. A third tractor-trailer and car then collided with the cluster of vehicles, causing dozens of injuries and several deaths.
The Westmoreland County Coroner’s Office released the identities of the five people who were killed in the Pa. Turnpike crash.
Below is the list of the victims who were killed:
- Shuang Qing Feng, 58 – Flushing, New York – Bus Driver
- Eileen Zelis Aria, 35 – Bronx, New York – Bus Passenger
- Jaremy Vazquez, 9 – Brooklyn, New York – Bus Passenger
- Dennis L. Kehler, 48 – Lebanon, Pennsylvania – UPS Employee
- Daniel J. Kepner, 53 – Lewistown, Pennsylvania – UPS Employee
The coroner’s office said Dr. Cyril Wecht and pathology associates will be performing the autopsies on Monday to confirm their causes of death.
Officials have not yet confirmed the exact cause for the tour bus to initially crash.
UPS officials said both were driving together in a tractor-trailer from Harrisburg.
Below is the full statement released by UPS regarding their deaths in the crash:
“Sadly, UPS confirms the identities of two of our drivers who are victims of this tragic incident. Daniel Kepner, age 53, had 5 years of service, and, Dennis Kehler, age 48, had 28 years of service. Both were driving together in a tractor trailer vehicle out of our Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, operating center. Our drivers will be missed and our thoughts and prayers go out to their families. This is all of the information available at this time.”—
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Thirty-one people were taken to Excela Frick Hospital in Mount Pleasant. Hospital officials said 27 were treated and released in stable condition. Four patients were sent to trauma centers in Pittsburgh: one child to UPMC Children’s Hospital and three adults to UPMC Presbyterian. The age range of patients taken to Frick hospital were from 7 to 52-years-old.
11 patients were taken to AHN Forbes Hospital in Monroeville. Two of them were in critical condition. One patient was transferred to Allegheny General Hospital. The rest of the individuals were listed in fair condition and were from 15 to 67-years-old.
Officials with Forbes Hospital said one of the most severe patients had a brain bleed. Hospital staff was put on alert once they learned of the crash, and various trauma teams were mobilized. A spokesperson said there were a number of Spanish speaking individuals brought to the hospital and they were to have staff on duty to help communicate. Hospital officials said none of the patients were from the Pittsburgh area and so a major part of helping the patients was getting in touch with family members.
A spokesperson for UPMC reports they received 22 patients from the crash. 18 were taken to UPMC Somerset where they were treated and released. Three patients were taken to UPMC Presbyterian and one child was transported to UPMC Children’s Hospital.