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Route 28 southbound in Harrison reopens after two a.m. wrecks

| Monday, May 13, 2013, 10:00 a.m.
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
State police conduct an accident reconstruction on Route 28 southbound at Exit 15 in Harrison as traffic backs up for two miles and is diverted onto Burtner Road on Monday, May 13, 2013.
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
State police conduct an accident reconstruction on Route 28 southbound at Exit 15 in Harrison on Monday, May 13, 2013.
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
With one car on the guardrail, ambulance personnel from Harrison and Freeport remove injured patients from a second vehicle, in the background, on Route 28 south of Exit 16. This accident closed the expressway at the Millerstown exit for more than an hour on Monday, May 13, 2013.

Seven people were injured in two traffic accidents within a few miles of each other on Route 28 southbound, closing two sections of the highway on Monday morning in Harrison.

A Kittanning woman suffered major injuries; however, she was in stable condition when taken to a Pittsburgh hospital.

The other six people suffered moderate injuries and were taken to area hospitals.

Traffic was backed up for several miles in the Harrison section of Route 28 at the Natrona Heights exit (15) and the Freeport/Millerstown exit (16), which was closed from about 6 a.m. to shortly before 11 a.m.

At first, traffic was detoured using the Exit 15 off-ramp to Burtner Road, then returned to Route 28 via the on-ramp.

Then, at about 9:40 a.m., a second southbound accident, involving three vehicles, occurred just south of the Freeport/Millerstown Road exit — in the midst of the 2-mile-long backup from the first wreck.

The accident left lots of debris on the roadway, which resulted in that section being closed.

Serious injury in 1st crash

The first crash occurred at the Natrona Heights exit at about 6:10 a.m. and involved two vehicles.

Donald Robinson, 45, of Freeport suffered from a medical emergency and stopped in one of Route 28's southbound lanes, according to state police.

Jenna Montebell, 26, of Kittanning was behind a truck that avoided Robinson's vehicle. She attempted to swerve but hit Robinson's stopped car from behind. Police said Montebell suffered major injuries.

She was taken by ambulance to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh and was in stable condition Monday afternoon, according to state police.

Robinson was taken to Allegheny Valley Hospital in Harrison for what were called moderate injuries.

3 cars wreck in backup

The second accident, at 9:40 a.m., was caused in part by the several-mile-long string of backed-up traffic near the Millerstown exit.

According to state police, Keith Fend, no age given, of Butler took his eyes off the road to adjust his GPS unit as cars were slowing in front of him and started a chain-reaction crash.

Fend's SUV hit the rear of the vehicle of Lynne Boyer, no age given, of Kittanning, and she hit the back of the vehicle of Sandra Harkabusic, no age given, of Apollo, according to police.

Fend's vehicle swerved off the road into a tree while one of the other vehicles landed on a wire guardrail on the shoulder of the road.

Citizens Hose Company had to cut Fend and his passenger, Joanne Fend, also of Butler, out of the SUV. Keith Fend was transported to Allegheny Valley Hospital and Joanne Fend was taken to UPMC Presbyterian hospital in Pittsburgh.

The other two drivers and a passenger suffered moderate injuries and were transported to ACMH Hospital in East Franklin or to nearby AVH.

PennDOT reported both accidents were cleared and the road reopened shortly after 11 a.m.

Mary Ann Thomas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at mthomas@tribweb.com.

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