Police are investigating a series of multi-vehicle crashes that occurred on Sunday, Nov. 23 in Pennsylvania. The accidents, which occurred on I-81 N, started with a tractor trailer accident. The truck and trailer jack-knifed early Sunday morning, coming to rest over both northbound traffic lanes. The truck was then hit by another tractor-trailer that could not stop in time.
That accident began a chain of events that would involve multiple crashes and the death of a 77-year-old. According to police, both the winter weather and speed played a role in the accidents.
After the two tractor-trailers wrecked, a car ran into them and was sent spinning off the road. The car rolled to a stop in the median. A minivan then hit one the trucks before being hit by an SUV. This minivan carried the 77-year-old victim that was later pronounced dead.
South of the truck accident, other incidents occurred as drivers attempted to avoid collisions. The driver of an SUV was unable to maintain control and ran into a car that had been stuck in the median. In another accident, a tractor-trailer came up against the side of a truck before both of those vehicles hit a third, stopped vehicle.
The numerous accidents - which even spanned into the southbound lanes of I-81 at one point, were responsible for sending several people to the hospital. At least one person was reported with critical injuries.
The interstate was blocked for the better part of the day as emergency responders worked to help victims and clear away debris. Police also worked to determine cause for each of the accidents in the chain of events.
When dealing with a lengthy accident chain that is compounded by poor weather, it can be hard to pinpoint the at-fault driver for each case. Though this series of events began with two tractor-trailers, those drivers may not be found at-fault for each incident in the chain of events. Rigorous reconstruction, witness depositions and research is required in instances like this to determine fault.