NTSB Releases Video of “Devastating” Wreckage From Deadly PA Turnpike Pileup
Mount Pleasant, PA – The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) today released new behind-the-scenes video (below) of its investigation into a tragic crash involving a tour bus and multiple big rigs last weekend along the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
The mass casualty crash occurred Sunday, January 5 at approximately 3:30 a.m. along the westbound lanes of the Turnpike near mile post 86, which is about 40 miles east of Pittsburgh.
Pennsylvania State Police investigators say a tour bus, operated by Rockaway, NJ-based Z & D Tours, was on a downhill curve and traveling behind a FedEx tractor-trailer when its 58-year-old driver navigated into the left lane to pass the big rig.
After passing, the bus driver attempted to move the bus back into the right lane, but investigators believe he overcorrected and struck the concrete median barrier.
The motor coach then came back across the travel lanes, went up an embankment and rolled onto its side where it came to rest blocking the road.
The bus was then struck from behind by three tractor-trailers and a passenger vehicle.
One of those big rigs was a UPS team hauling out of of the company’s Harrisburg operating center, UPS later confirmed in a statement.
Both truck drivers, 53-year-old Daniel Kepner, of Lewistown, PA, who worked with UPS for five years, and 48-year-old Dennis Kehler, of Lebanon, PA, who worked with the company for 28 years, died at the scene.
The bus driver, along with two of its passengers also perished.
At least 60 more people were injured and transported to nearby hospitals.
In a press conference on Sunday, Jennifer Homendy with the NTSB confirmed a team of investigators was already on scene.
Homendy advised that the NTSB would conduct an extensive investigation separate from those already being led by police and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.
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On Monday, Homendy revealed more about the NTSB’s ongoing investigation.
“This was the first day of what could be 24 months of investigation,” Homendy said during a press briefing. “Drone specialists conducted detailed surveys of the vehicles, we had investigators at the medical examiner and investigators processing the vehicles.”
She continued, “We looked at the motor coach, the FedEx truck, one of the UPS trucks and two of the trailers. I thought it was devastating.”
Homendy expects the NTSB to be on site for seven to 10 days to collect perishable evidence and complete its investigation.
The NTSB will release a preliminary report that will not include analysis, Homendy says.
However, she anticipates the final report will be made available in 18 to 24 months.
On Tuesday, the NTSB released a 3-minute behind-the-scenes video of its ongoing investigation.
WATCH it below.