BIG BEAVER, Pa. (KDKA) – Two people were killed and four others, including children, were injured in a head-on crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike late Saturday night.
State police say 76-year-old William Paxton, of Pittsburgh, was driving eastbound on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in the westbound lanes when he slammed head-on into a car driven by 36-year-old Andrew Sworan, of Chagrin Falls, Ohio.
Chief Alan DeSanzo with the Homewood Volunteer Fire Department in Beaver County was the first one on the scene.
“If you can imagine two vehicles traveling 70 mph and colliding head-on, it would be like a single vehicle running into a concrete wall at 140 mph,” he said.
The accident happened at the 8 mile marker just across the state line.
“Every part of the vehicle that you can imagine was strewn on the highway, and it wasn’t pretty,” DeSanzo said.
Paxton and Sworan both died at the scene.
Paxton’s wife was taken to a Pittsburgh hospital with suspected serious injuries.
A 40-year-old woman in Sworan’s vehicle was hospitalized with possible injuries, along with a 4-year-old boy. A 5-year-old girl was uninjured.
Authorities say Paxton had traveled on the wrong side of the highway for eight miles before the accident happened.
State police are trying to determine why.
Turnpike spokesperson Renee Vid says there was very little traffic when the accident happened.
“He may not have encountered any cars in that stretch for quite some time. It’s just a low travel night so that possibly was part of the reason why he didn’t realize he was going in that direction until it was too late,” Vid said.
The highway remained closed in the westbound direction for approximately four hours before reopening early Sunday morning.