White Deer Township, Pa. – Approximately 60 cars were involved in the crash on I-80 in White Deer Township that claimed the lives to two men yesterday, according to a release by Pennsylvania State Police at Milton.
A snow squall led to limited visibility and hazardous roadway conditions simultaneously, causing a chain-reaction crash. PSP Milton confirmed that Edward Posavec, 53, of Hatfield, Pennsylvania, and Marek Szczepanczyk, 58, of Sterling Heights, Michigan, both died from injuries they sustained in the crash.
Approximately 30 others were also injured in the snowy pileup.
The Union County Coroner was called in the afternoon of December 18 to the scene of the multiple-vehicle pileup.
The crash occurred Wednesday around 1:20 p.m. near mile marker 202 in the eastbound and westbound lanes of I-80 in White Deer Township, Union County, according to the Union County Firewire Facebook page. PSP in Milton, along with numerous Union County fire departments and EMS responded to the scene. Life Flight also responded.
Both lanes of I-80 were shut down for several hours. The eastbound lane reopened at 6:45 p.m., according to PennDOT. The westbound lane remains closed Thursday as crews work to remove debris. PennDOT estimates the road will reopen around noon.
Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg called the situation a “mass casualty” incident on their Twitter page. As of 7 p.m. Wednesday, the hospital said they had received 37 patients, and some were still in the triage process. At least three patients were transferred to other facilities.
In addition to patients, the hospital also served as a receiving point for 21 individuals not necessarily involved in the accident and not injured but needing refuge from the hazardous weather conditions, according to a release from Evangelical. Those individuals and three dogs were received and either held until they could be picked up by loved ones or housed at local hotels overnight.
A family resource center was established at the Best Western Country Cupboard hotel in Kelly Township for family members seeking information on their loved ones, according to the hospital’s Twitter page.
PennDOT closed 34 miles of the interstate in both directions and requested a drone at the scene. Traffic heading toward Williamsport was directed off I-80 at exit 178 and was detoured to Route 220 to I-180 to reconnect with I-80 at the Williamsport interchange.
Westbound traffic heading toward Lock Haven was directed off I-80 at the 212B/I-180 West/Williamsport exit and followed a detour using I-180 to Route 220 before reconnecting with I-80 at Williamsport.
By 5 p.m. Wednesday, the detour had caused heavy traffic on Route 220 northbound near Jersey Shore, Pa.