Trooper Justin Summa told the Chicago Tribune that three fatalities had been confirmed and an unknown number of critically injured patients were flown to hospitals. State police tell the newspaper that the accident occurred around 9:45 a.m. on Saturday morning and that it might have been caused by the dangerously cold weather.
Trooper Adam Reed told the paper that investigators believe that “passing snow squalls played a role in causing the crash.”
Raul Jardine, who was a victim of the crash, told PennLive.com that it “just turned real white” on the road and that all he could see were the brake lights of the car in front of him. He says he slowed down and was hit from behind.
Trucks on I-78
Cooper Leslie via AP
Cory Angell, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, told NBC News that more than 40 people were transported to area hospitals. The news outlet also reported that roughly 70 people took shelter at Jonestown Fire Department, which is about eight miles away from the wreckage site.
Cars on I-78
Michael K. Dakota / Lebanon Daily News via AP
According to NBC News, the National Weather Service had issued service alerts about snow squalls in the Philadelphia area. Lebanon County, where the accident took place, is about 100 miles west of the city.
“The snow just started and it was a total whiteout. The car in front of us just disappeared,” driver Ashely Fisher told the news outlet. “We were able to stop, but a couple cars slid and hit the shoulder.”