UNION TOWNSHIP, LEBANON COUNTY—A tractor trailer accident claims the life of one person and sends another to the hospital with serious burns to the arms and face. The two trucks collided along Interstate 78 in Union Township, Lebanon County, around 3:15 a.m.
A fully-loaded tractor trailer based out of Memphis, Tenn. was driving eastbound in the right-hand lane when it rear-ended another truck from Michigan. The two trucks fused together and caught fire. A passenger, who was sleeping at the time, managed to escape the flames. He was badly burned and flown to the Lehigh Valley Burn Center to be treated for his injuries. The driver from Memphis was badly burned and pronounced dead on the scene.
"His identity will have to be confirmed through dental records or other means because he was burned beyond recognition. It's definitely a serious accident. It's one of the worst I have seen in several months," said Corporal Timothy Fetzer, Pennsylvania State Police.
The two people in the Michigan-based truck were not injured in the crash. The driver, 48-year-old Sukhwinder Singh and his passenger, 33-year-old Balwinder Singh, escaped the fire in the trailer of their vehicle.
Route 78 eastbound should remain shut down until at least 10 a.m., with one lane expected to be shut down for most of the day. Lebanon County Hazmat crews were able to contain some diesel fuel that leaked, so that it didn't contaminate a nearby creek.
With delays expected in the area, drivers can take exit 85, the Fort Indiantown Gap exit off Interstate 81 and follow the green detour signs to get back to Route 78. They can also follow Interstate 81 northbound passed the scene.