3 dead in 50-car pile-up on Interstate 78 in Penn.

Courtesy of Cooper Leslie

FREDERICKSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – At least three people died and dozens were injured when drifting snow Saturday morning caused a series of crashes involving about 50 vehicles on Interstate 78 in Lebanon County.

The crashes at 9:30 a.m. closed both the eastbound and westbound lanes at the Lebanon/Fredericksburg exits, seven-and-a-half miles from the I-81 interchange.

Police expected the highway would remain closed until at least midnight.

Courtesy of Cooper Leslie
Courtesy of Cooper Leslie

State police Trooper Justin Summa said 46 people were transported by EMS to seven hospitals and others were flown from the scene by helicopter. Four medical helicopters were dispatched to the crash.

The crash occurred near Blue Mountain Road in Bethel Township. The pile-up began in the westbound lanes and spread to the median and eastbound lanes, leaving wrecked cars, tractor-trailers, box trucks and other vehicles spread out about a quarter-mile.

Courtesy of Cooper Leslie
Courtesy of Cooper Leslie

Firefighters rescued several people who were trapped in the wrecked vehicles.

The American Red Cross set up a warming shelter at the Jonestown Fire Hall where stranded, uninjured motorists could get food and transportation to local motels. Several buses were sent to get more than 70 motorists off the highway.

The clean-up was hampered by the bitter cold and the number of vehicles involved. Hazardous materials crews were cleaning up spilled fluids and fuel, and a state police reconstruction teams was investigating.

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