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Police: Truck in fatal turnpike crash was swerving to avoid car blocking both lanes

| Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, 9:03 a.m.
Google Street View from November, 2016 of the area where a fatal crash occurred along the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Jefferson Township, Somerset County on Feb. 6, 2018.
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Google Street View from November, 2016 of the area where a fatal crash occurred along the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Jefferson Township, Somerset County on Feb. 6, 2018.

The tractor-trailer that struck and killed a York County man Tuesday on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Somerset County hit one stopped vehicle and was swerving to avoid another when it struck two people along the shoulder, state police said.

The series of crashes around mile marker 101.9 in Jefferson Township began around 11 p.m. Tuesday when a man driving a 2006 Ford Fusion lost control as he was traveling east, coming to a rest along the narrow outside shoulder of the highway, police said in a news release.

A 2007 Buick Lucerne also lost control and crashed in the same area, coming to a stop facing north across both lanes just past the Fusion.

The driver and passenger of the Buick had gotten out of the car and were standing along the shoulder when a tractor-trailer driven by Zekerie Warsame, 30, came around the curve and clipped the rear of the Fusion and steered across the two lanes to bounce off the concrete center barrier.

Police said Warsame saw the Buick across both lanes and steered to the right toward the shoulder to avoid it, but hit both people who had gotten out. The truck then crashed through the guardrail and down the embankment.

Police did not release the names of the two people who were hit or whether the man who was killed was the driver or passenger. The Somerset County coroner identified the victim as James E. Marsh, 57, of York . The status of the other person struck was not available.

Neither Warsame nor the driver of the Fusion was injured, police said.

All eastbound lanes of the turnpike were closed from 11:30 p.m. Tuesday until about 9 a.m. Wednesday while state police investigated the crash. Traffic was detoured between New Stanton and Breezewood in order to keep the detoured traffic along major highways, police said.

Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724 836 6660, msantoni@tribweb.com or on Twitter @msantoni.

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