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Westmoreland

Two tractor-trailers crash minutes, miles apart on Pennsylvania Turnpike

| Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 11:51 a.m.
Pennsylvania Turnpike reported that the westbound lanes are  closed at the Breezewood Exit (#161) due to a tractor trailer crash at milepost 88.6 westbound on Tuesday. March 20, 2018
PA Turnpike
Pennsylvania Turnpike reported that the westbound lanes are closed at the Breezewood Exit (#161) due to a tractor trailer crash at milepost 88.6 westbound on Tuesday. March 20, 2018

A pair of tractor-trailers crashed a few miles and a few minutes apart Tuesday as wintry weather struck the Pennsylvania Turnpike outside Donegal, authorities said.

The first truck crashed off the eastbound highway and over an embankment at about 11:23 a.m. at milepost 91.3, just east of the Donegal interchange, according to Westmoreland County 911 dispatchers.

The driver reportedly got out of the vehicle himself. There were no immediate reports of any traffic stoppages.

The second crash occurred around 11:40 a.m. in the westbound lanes near milepost 88.6, about three miles west of Donegal, said state police. Turnpike spokesman Carl DeFebo said that truck crashed into the center barrier and was partially blocking the eastbound lane.

Emergency responders briefly planned to close westbound lanes from Breezewood to New Stanton, but crews quickly cleared the travel lanes and the closure was called off less than 10 minutes after it was announced, DeFebo said.

Police said all travel lanes were open, but traffic was slow due to the earlier crashes and weather conditions.

Snow and ice conditions caused the turnpike commission to restrict the speed limit to 45 mph between the New Stanton Interchange at milepost 75 and the Breezewood Interchange at milepost 161.

Turnpike officials urged motorists to reduce speeds and stay alert for emergency crews working on the roadway.

Paul Peirce and Matthew Santoni are Tribune-Review staff writers.

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