This story has been updated with the latest information from Pa. State Police.
TILDEN TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — Two multi-vehicle crashes shut down I-78 eastbound in Berks County Tuesday night.
According to PennDOT, the crashes occurred between Exit 19: PA 183-Strausstown and Exit 29A: PA 61 South-Reading. All lanes were closed and traffic was being diverted off the interstate.
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Pa. State Police Hamburg confirmed to abc27 at least four are dead, two from each, and they’re working with the Berks County Coroner in their ongoing investigation.
A bus, two passenger vehicles, and a tractor-trailer were all involved in the first crash just before 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Police say the school bus was driving in the right lane and ran into stopped traffic, which was due to a left lane closure in a work zone. The bus rear-ended a Chevrolet Cruze. The bus kept going with the Cruze lodged underneath and rear-ended a Nissan Xterra. The Nissan then rear-ended the tractor-trailer.
The driver of the Chevrolet and the front-seat passenger of the Nissan were pronounced dead at the scene. The others involved were not injured.
The second was with two tractor-trailers and multiple passenger vehicles two hours later. This crash occurred as traffic was being taken off I-78 due to the earlier crash. A tractor-trailer rear-ended a van, which caused a chain reaction of rear-ending two other cars, a Sedan and an SUV, and another tractor-trailer.
The back-seat passenger-side passenger was pronounced dead at the scene, as well as the driver of the SUV. No word on injuries for everyone else involved.
On Wednesday, Dec. 15, a fifth individual from Reading, Pa. was pronounced dead. He was a part of the second accident. Based on the police report, it is believed he was the front seat passenger in the Sedan that was rear-ended in the chain-reaction crash.
The incident continues to be under investigation.
This is a developing story. abc27 will provide updates as they become available.