3 dead, 31 injured in Pennsylvania expressway pileup

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Sunday, January 18, 2015
VIDEO: Deadly accident
Ice caused major problems on roadways and bridges Sunday morning.

PHILADELPHIA -- Three people are dead and dozens injured after icy conditions caused multiple accidents on major roadways and bridges in the Philadelphia area.

One person was killed and at least 31 were injured during a chain reaction pileup on the Schuylkill Expressway just before 7:00 a.m. Sunday.

The accident resulted in traffic being blocked in both directions between Gulph Mills and the Blue Route for almost five hours.

All lanes of the Schuylkill Expressway were reopened around 2:15 p.m.

Police say 56 vehicles were involved in the crash.

Police brought in SEPTA buses to transport the victims to hospitals, including Bryn Mawr and Lankenau Hospital.

Montgomery County authorities report emergency vehicles responding to the scene also experienced problems on the icy roadways.

A second accident on the Schuylkill Expressway near mile marker 337 involved seven vehicles.

Around the same time, a multi-vehicle crash involving a tractor trailer occurred on the Blue Route at West Chester Pike in Broomall, Delaware County.

Pennsylvania State Police confirm two people were pronounced dead at the scene.

Numerous injuries were also reported.

Close by, another multi-vehicle accident happened on West Chester Pike.

The icy conditions also caused problems to the area bridges.

The Betsy Ross, Walt Whitman, Ben Franklin, Tacony Palmyra, Burlington-Bristol, and Commodore Barry bridges were all closed throughout the morning due to accidents and as precaution.

Multiple accidents were also reported on I-95 northbound and southbound resulting in delays.

In the Frankford section of Philadelphia, a fire department ladder truck slid on ice at Frankford Avenue and Margaret Street while responding to an accident.

The truck jackknifed around 8:00 a.m. No injuries were reported.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike was closed in both directions between Morgantown and the Delaware River Bridge interchange. It reopened at noon with a reduced speed limit of 45mph.

In Claymont, Delaware, a State Trooper received minor injuries after his patrol car was struck while investigating a crash.

The trooper was on location on I-495 over Naamans Road taking a report on an ice-related accident when his vehicle was struck.

The trooper was taken by ambulance to Christiana Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

While on location covering this incident, the Action Cam captured a third crash on the ramp for Naamans Road.

PennDOT spokesman Eugene Blaum says these accidents were a result of "flash-freezing."

"The most difficult part about this is that a flash freeze like this, the moisture can freeze on contact with the pavement," he said.

Blaum said temperature and precipitation conditions were perfect in some spots to create a serious problem: a sheet of ice caused by light rain falling on cold surfaces.

PennDOT says 146 salt trucks were deployed in the Philadelphia region after 5:00 a.m. to salt in case of mixed winter precipitation.

The icy conditions also caused delays on the mass transit.

For the latest updates visit the websites of SEPTA, NJ Transit, and PATCO.

PATCO is honoring NJ Transit bus tickets between Camden (Broadway Station/Water Rand) and Philadelphia at this time.

Philadelphia International Airport says to check your flight status with your airline or call 1-800-PHL-GATE.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.