Trucker driving too fast caused wreckage with diesel spill that closed I-78 lanes, cops say
A tractor-trailer driver traveling too fast for conditions as traffic slowed caused Friday’s crash at Exit 66 for Hellertown/Bethlehem (Highway 412), according to Pennsylvania State Police.
The crash spilled diesel fuel onto the freeway, causing the road to be closed for an extended period until it could be cleared, police said.
No one was hurt, they said.
The crash happened around 2:45 p.m. at kilometer post 65.9 in Bethlehem, police said in a news release. A 32-year-old man from the Bronx, New York, was driving a 2013 Volvo X15 too fast, they said. Heavy rain was moving over the region throughout Friday afternoon. As traffic slowed, he swerved from the left lane onto his left shoulder to avoid a rear-end collision, police said.
The Volvo then struck the left concrete barrier and side swept a 2006 Toyota Matrix into the left to right lane of the truck. The Volvo continued in the right lane, hitting the rear driver’s side of a 2016 International Harvester 8600, police said.
The three vehicles then came to a stop in the area of the right lane and right shoulder, and all had to be towed away, police said.
Volvo driver faces lane-related citation, police say, who identified the Toyota driver as a 58-year-old from Easton and the International Harvester driver as a 46-year-old from Perth Amboy, New Jersey. None of the drivers had passengers, police said.
A Pennsylvania Department of Transportation traffic camera at the interchange showed vehicles passing the crash site around 5:35 p.m., with the accident reported by PennDOT at 8:53 p.m.
I-78 traffic headaches continued Saturday morning just west of the Lehigh Valley, with a multi-vehicle crash at 9:53 a.m. closing all westbound lanes between Exit 45 Lynnport/New Smithville (route 863) and exit 40 Kutztown/Krumsville (route 737), according to PennDOT.
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Kurt Bresswein can be reached at [email protected].