FRANKLIN PARK, Pa. (KDKA) — Two people died in an early Friday morning wrong-way crash along Interstate 79.
Emergency crews were called to the scene just south of the Parkway North (I-279) split shortly before 3 a.m. The medical examiner arrived at the scene around 6 a.m.
Police received a phone call from a driver saying a vehicle had been seen heading the wrong way in the southbound lanes on I-79 just before the crash.
Brandy Lamison, 31, is believed to have been driving the wrong way on I-79 in a red Honda Odyssey. She struck a silver Hyundai Elantra being driven by Justin Bowser, 20, head-on. Both were killed instantly. Lamison was not wearing a seatbelt.
“The vehicle at fault had struck another vehicle head-on resulting in both of these operators being deceased,” said Trooper Melinda Bondarenka with the Pennsylvania State Police.
Police aren’t sure how Lamison ended up going the wrong way. Investigators said three cars, including the car Bowser was driving, were in the right lane before the crash. When Bowser got into the left lane, he was hit head-on by Lamison’s car.
Lamison has had trouble driving before. Criminal records show Lamison was convicted of driving drunk in 2014, and in 2015, she pleaded guilty to committing terroristic threats.
KDKA’s Paul Martino reports —
It’s unclear if Lamison was under the influence Friday morning.
“It would have to be toxicology tests to determine that,” said Trooper Bondarenka.
State police told KDKA-TV’s Amy Wadas that five vehicles were involved. A Toyota Highlander, Chevy Malibu and Peterbilt water truck were the other three vehicles involved in the crash. A 71-year-old man in the Toyota Highlander suffered minor injuries.
Trooper Bondarenka said it is a tragic time, especially with it being Easter weekend and Passover.
“It’s sad at any time when you lose a family member, or a friend, but especially at the holidays when you’re planning get-togethers. You’re planning time with your loved ones and now they have to plan a funeral,” said Trooper Bondarenka.
The southbound lanes of Interstate 79 in Franklin Park remained closed until about 8 a.m. All southbound traffic was being detoured onto southbound I-279 due to the crash.