2 Dead After Fiery Tractor Trailer Crash On I-70

DONEGAL TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — A fiery crash involving four tractor trailers at a welcome center along Interstate 70 in Washington County claimed the lives of a man and woman overnight.

The accident happened on a ramp at the I-70 welcome center in Donegal.

Given the damage, state police say it will be hard to figure out what really happened, but have been able to piece together some details. Around 11:30 p.m., a truck was attempting to exit at the welcome center along the eastbound side of I-70. Another truck clipped the back of it, losing control.

“Maybe the driver was unattentive and didn’t recognize how much the other vehicle had slowed down, and that’s the initial impact that caused this chain reaction,” said Trooper Jon Christy, of the state police.

Two parked tractor trailer rigs were also hit and damaged in the accident.

The driver of one of those tractor trailers, David, said he had just woken up and looked in the side view mirror only to find the truck heading straight for him. He said he felt lucky to be alive.

Meanwhile, authorities have not identified the man and woman who were killed in the crash, but say they were from Missouri. They were riding in the tractor trailer that crashed into the three others and then caught fire. One may have been ejected from the vehicle and the other was trapped inside.

“The guy [was] screaming in the truck, I heard him and we tried getting him out,” said Greg Lagana, a truck driver. “There was nothing that we could do to get him out and when I realized that we tried to move the trucks so nothing else could catch on fire and made sure that everybody else involved was all right.”

State police in Washington County are investigating the crash.

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One Comment

  1. George Gryak says:

    What a shame, but most of thos rig drivers speed like Hell and they say us 4-wheelers are bad drivers!

    1. Stanley Shepherd says:

      you 4 wheelers are bad drivers!!!! And those 2 people happen to be my parents!!! Have a little sympathy for families. and by the way one of them is a veteran of 30 years… I guess your not thankful for what you have. Just remember Truck drivers are people too.

  2. Jim says:

    I agree. It is sad that two lives were lost, but anyone who has driven on 70 can tell you that it is a deathtrap. People (not just truckers) routinely go 20-30 MPH over the speed limit and no one does anything about it.

    Maybe it’s time for some enforcement?

  3. Peg says:

    That’s bull about most truckers speeding “like hell.” Maybe some do go over the speed limit, but “speed like hell”? Hardly. A cop will pull a rig over before they’ll pull over a car; and PennDOT doesn’t even police the cars on the highways, but it does the truckers. You get a speeding ticket and you pay a fine and your insurance goes up. A trucker gets one, he pays a WAY bigger fine, his insurance goes up (because his CDL is still his driver’s licence used for personal vehicles), he gets written up at work and/or fired, depending on the infraction. Company drivers have more to lose than owner/operators, perhaps, but it’s still a much heftier consequence for a trucker than for a nonprofessional driver. There’s always a few rotten apples that will spoil it for the entire bushel, but for the most part, “most” truckers do not “speed like hell.” Try jumping into a rig and keeping a log of every mile driven with the times at each stop for DOT’s various inspection checkpoints, then come back and say that. Even if you aren’t caught speeding, the logs will show you’re getting someplace too quickly and DOT will be all over that. Why not just step into a rig, period, and try to drive one before assuming it was speed. I don’t recall the article mentioning anything about the driver speeding. Nice way to place blame when it may have been something out of his control. I’m sure his family will appreciate that.

    1. E/J says:

      I beg to differ Peg. As a driver for 11 years i have seen drivers, especially those who are owner operators speed. In my opinion it is not the speed that causes crashes, it’s the following distance. A truck at 79,000 ponds going 65 MPH takes a whole football field to come to a complete stop. When you have big trucks following behind at a distance close enough to touch your bumper this is where the danger happens. How many times have you seen a big truck run up close to a car? This is their way of saying get out of the way, but what happens if the vehicle in front of them has to put on the brakes? The reaction time is insufficient and could result in an accident. Most drivers have driving these big trucks hav too many egos until an accident happens and they are charged with involuntary manslaughter.

      1. Peg says:

        I beg to differ, also (except about the trucks needing a longer following distance). I don’t know where the ego comment came from, though. I’ve yet to meet a trucker like that. Not saying, like a speeder, they don’t exist. You’ll find arrogance and attitude in any career. I’m just tired of the generalizations handed out to an entire group of people. Times have changed and things are done a bit differently now than in the past where speeding, times spent at the wheel driving, etc were not policed and regulated quite as strictly. The way truckers are paid is largely to blame for a lot of things. Paying by the mile encourages drivers to work too long, drive faster, etc. If the truck breaks down, they don’t get paid even though they’re still at work cuz they can’t leave their trucks. However, that being said, I’m glad I haven’t come across all these “ego” drivers that apparently litter the road, nor the “speed like hell” truckers that are supposedly also out there. I must drive on a different part of I-70, I-76, 66, 22, and so on.

    2. david says:

      peg you handled that so well i applaud you for setting these asholes straight everyone it seems like these days are eager to place the blame befor they even know the full story

  4. More than 4 wheels says:

    If anyone has noticed, there is no enforcement on any of PA’s roads. The state police have become nothing more than flashing beacons for construction sites.

    My friends I work with from the surround states say they know when they reach the PA line, you can put the pedal to the metal. Unlike their own state that actually enforce the limits for trucks.

  5. Pattie says:

    I agree with Peg 100%, my husband is a truck driver and his tractor can not go over 64 mph. I have been with him on the road and I can tell you from experience it is the 4-wheelers that don’t pay any attention. In New Jersey there are “truck” lanes and I would rather drive in those lanes then the one for 4-wheelers. I have seen so many drivers not paying any attention. I think the general public shouldn’t pass judgment on a truck drivers if they have never been behind the wheel of a big truck.

  6. Denise says:

    I am sick in my stomach. Our prayers are with the families. We came through there around 11:30 last night. I think we may have passed that truck on a hill somewhere because I look at the truckers’ plates to see where they come from. I had wondered to myself if the 2 trucks that I saw from Missouri may have been from Joplin. Last night the visibility was horrible with the rain and extreme darkness, poor markings and construction areas.
    Route 70 from the PA line to New Stanton remains as horrible today as it has for many, many years. Route 70 always has construction and nothing ever seems to be done. Why we spend millions building a tunnel under the river but can’t widen the highway where so many are killed is disgusting. I guess that is typical PA politics!
    I haven’t met a trucker yet that likes to drive through PA. A waitress that we had on the way home was a former trucker and had said how she hated it when she was given the PA route.
    To criticize trucker’s isn’t fare. I watched a subcompact car pull directly in front of a 18 wheeler getting onto the interstate last night that nearly made him come to a complete stop. There are plenty of idiots in cars too!

  7. Ann says:

    Peg, I completely agree. I make the run to Philly and back several times a month. I’m on the road at 3:00 a.m. as are many truckers. I’m usually passing them. When it’s raining and there’s the back splash from the tires, I will pass them for better visibility. These gentle men will pull as far right as they can so as to minimize the splashing. I have encountered thousands of trucks, and I do mean thousands. There is not one time when I was not afforded courtesy on the road by a trucker. My experience is the real idiots are driving passenger vehicles.

  8. Eddie Yount says:

    .Mr. 9 to 5 speed maniacs in thier big fat SUVs that think they can drive that zig and zag in and infront of trucks all in a hurry for thier big drunking weekend . The trucks arnt the problem

  9. MICHELLE says:


  10. joe says:

    pittsburgh drivers are horrible!!!

  11. bettygerbil says:

    no one has the right to judge we all speed and if u say u don’t then your lieing maybe the driver had a medical problem or what ever it does not matter car truck or suv it is a sad story but this happens everyday in america we need to all slow down and quit being rushed to make money

  12. Chrisler says:

    I came through this area after fire was extinguished. It looked very bad and there was a big response of EMTs on the scene. I was glad that I had stopped at Sheetz in WV. It was a bad night to be on the road. I am unfamiliar with the road and the rain and road construction made it hard to see. The passing trucks did not help with their splashbacks. The most aggressive driver was someone in a car who drove right on my tail through a divided construction section, then tore past me at high speed once I was able to move over. I wondered if he had seen the wreck at the welcome center.

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