A Brigantine man died in a massive crash that shut down miles of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension in Carbon County for hours Friday night.
Harry Jackson III, 32, was pronounced dead at the scene, the Carbon County Coroner’s Office said. A passenger in his car survived.
The crash occurred on Interstate 476 North in Franklin Township, several miles north of Mahoning Valley Exit #74, at approximately 5:45 p.m.
Photos posted on social media show a jackknifed tractor-trailer suspended over the center median with burning debris, along with several other damaged vehicles.
Chris Jones, who was traveling south on the turnpike to Lehighton to pick up his son, passed by the crash scene shortly after southbound traffic reopened. He said the tractor-trailer, which appeared to be heading south, jackknifed to its left while jumping partially over the concrete median wall.
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Jones said the tractor-trailer destroyed the wall so badly that pieces as big as car tires were strewn among the wrecked vehicles and debris.
“The north side is completely littered from side to side over several hundred feet of vehicles, pieces of vehicles and all the different sized pieces of the wall itself,” he said earlier. in a post on Facebook.
At least three other vehicles sustained significant damage, including shattered glass, crushed metal and blown airbags, Jones said.
Northbound lanes remained closed between Mahoning Valley and Pocono Exit #95 overnight. Just before 5 a.m. they reopened, according to the PA Turnpike Alerts Twitter account.
The two southbound lanes were first closed to allow a medical helicopter to land on the highway. Friday evening, these two lanes had reopened.
Traffic was diverted from the freeway throughout the evening.
Just before 8 p.m., toll road officials tweeted that motorists were stuck waiting on the freeway between the crash site and the Mahoning Valley exit. Rescue teams on foot were helping cars turn around to head south in the northern lanes to reach the exit.
“Crews walk on foot from Exit #74 – from there to the stage. Only one car can turn around at a time and it’s a slow process due to maneuvering around utility vehicles that don’t turn around. For any questions Dial *11. Thanks,” the PA Turnpike tweeted.