Fatal I-78 pile-up sent 73 to hospital, involved 64 vehicles

Written by Staff Report/Lebanon Daily News and The Associated Press | Feb 15, 2016 4:52 AM

Interstate 78 was closed just west of the 78/22 interchange in Bethel Township, Lebanon County, PA. Saturday morning, Feb. 13, after a multiple vehicle accident shut down both east and west lanes. It was reported that 15 were reported trapped, with three fatalities. Early on it was estimated 30-50 vehicles were involved in the accident. Michael K. Dakota / Lebanon Daily News Michael K. Dakota. Lebanon Daily, Michael K. Dakota, Lebanon Daily

(Fredericksburg) --  Authorities have released the names of the three people killed in a huge pileup on Interstate 78 in Lebanon County during a snow squall. 

State police say 50-year-old Kenneth J. Lesko, of Bethpage, New York; 54-year-old Francisca V. Pear, of Bridgewater, New Jersey; and 57-year-old Alfred Dean Kinnick, of Limestone, Tennessee, were all pronounced dead at the scene.  

Troopers say 73 people were taken to 11 hospitals for treatment following Saturday morning's crash on Interstate 78 in Bethel Township that involved 64 vehicles, including a dozen commercial vehicles such as tractor trailers and box trucks. 

The injured were taken to Hershey Medical Center, Wellspan Good Samaritan Hospital, Reading Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital in Reading, Pottsville Hospital, Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill and Pinnacle Medical in Mechanicsburg.

The accident shutdown both east and westbound lanes of the interstate, which was reported shortly after 9:30 a.m.

Multiple emergency crews from Lebanon County and surrounding counties were dispatched to the scene of the crash.

Some of the vehicles involved in the crash in the westbound lanes ended up in the eastbound lanes.

Jenny Privitera and her husband, Jason, were on their way to the Outdoor Show in Harrisburg when the crash happened.

"It was on and off sunny and cloudy, and all of a sudden there was just a white out," she said. "We couldn't see much in front of us. It lasted for 20-30 minutes. We could hear the crash behind us and everyone sliding."

She said she and her husband were not injured.

"I've never seen anything like that. It was just crazy. You can't plan for it," she said.

Karl Shuster, of Northampton, and Matt Lubensky, of Bethlehem, headed toward Harrisburg, were at the front of massive pileup.

"We could just hear it piling up behind us, Lubensky said.

A truck in front of them slowed down and they slowed down, setting off the massive crash, Shuster said.

"We got hit four times and everyone piled in behind us," Shuster said.

"The vehicle's totaled but we're good," he said.

Four medical helicopters landed on the interstate to transport the most seriously injured.

One person remained in critical condition Sunday, when the interstate reopened to traffic.  

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