CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — All east and westbound lanes on Route 581 have reopened after a pile-up crash involving 73 vehicles on Saturday afternoon that miraculously resulted in no reported life-threatening injuries.
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The crash happened around 2 p.m. amid whiteout conditions on PA 581 eastbound between Exit 5: US 15 S – US 11/15 N GETTYSBURG-CAMP HILL and Exit 6B: I-83 SOUTH – YORK.
According to Pennsylvania State Trooper Megan Ammerman, 43 of the 73 vehicles involved sustained damage, and 10 people were injured. Ammerman says the road was closed for approximately four hours.
Capital Area Transit buses picked up drivers and passengers involved in the crash who were uninjured and brought them to the New Cumberland Borough fire department to warm up and reunite with family.
“PSP had everyone stay in their cars and then they went from vehicle to vehicle to get their information, and as they got information on each person, they sent them to the bus to load them up,” New Cumberland EMS captain Matt Winslow said.
Tow trucks were brought to the scene to assist with the cleanup, though officials have not publicly announced where drivers will be able to reunite with their vehicles.
Drivers and witnesses in the pileup told abc27 that there were whiteout conditions prior to the crash.
“We went under the underpass and suddenly there was a whiteout,” recounted Jason Rosnick. “I hit the brakes and suddenly I had zero traction. I got tapped from behind and hit somebody in front of me and hit the barrier, and for the next five minutes or so there was just more and more collisions.”
The video below was taken by abc27’s Sanika Bhargaw of the bus helping people involved in the crash.
Officials said an incident like this is an example of how winter weather conditions can quickly turn dangerous.
“When PennDOT says to stay off the roads, for our sakes and everyone else’s sakes, we appreciate if you stay off the road because that is where things can change very drastically and very quickly,” Winslow said.
“All of a sudden, we got this snowstorm that came through with some really heavy bands, and you add in this blowing snow, the high winds and those whiteout conditions happen…in just a minute,” PennDOT spokesperson Fritzi Schreffler added. “I often tell people to expect the unexpected and that’s why we encourage you to make sure gas tanks are full, and check tire pressures and windshield wipers, having that emergency kit.”
Motorists traveling on I-83 North to 581 West were previously directed onto I- 83 north to I-81 south. Vehicles traveling I-83 south across the bridge to 581 West were directed to I-83 south.
6:00 p.m. Coverage:
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