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100 vehicles wreck, closing part of Pennsylvania Turnpike near Philly, official says

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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • About 100 vehicles crash on Pennsylvania Turnpike north of Philadelphia, official says
  • Turnpike spokesman: Wrecks started with 14- or 15-vehicle collision near New Jersey line
  • Other wrecks happened behind the first group
  • Backup stretches for miles, could be hours before road is cleared, official says

By Margaret Conley and Jason Hanna

About 100 vehicles crashed in a series of wrecks on the eastbound Pennsylvania Turnpike just north of Philadelphia Friday morning, causing an hours-long traffic backup for miles over parts of two counties, authorities said.

The wrecks started around 8:25 a.m. ET with a 14- or 15-vehicle collision in southern Bucks County, not far from New Jersey state line, said Bill Capone, spokesman for Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

About 20 more sets of wrecks happened over a miles-long stretch of the turnpike, said Pat Ponticelli, Bensalem Township's deputy director of public safety, each apparently happening as traffic slowed for the crashes ahead.

At least three people suffered minor injuries in the first wreck; authorities still were trying to determine how many were hurt in the others, Capone said.

Traffic was backed up for miles, stretching westward into adjacent Montgomery County, and it could take hours before the traffic is cleared, Capone said around 10:20 a.m.

CNN affiliate KYW reported the turnpike was slick, with freezing rain in the Philadelphia area. But authorities so far have not attributed the crashes to weather, said Kevin Rathman, a Pennsylvania State Police trooper.

In one area of the turnpike, aerial video from KYW showed vehicles jammed together near the rears of two tractor-trailers.

In another section, emergency workers parked their vehicles on the leftmost westbound lane and hopped over a concrete barrier to help people at a cluster of cars that had crashed in the eastbound lanes.

 

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