I-81 lanes reopen 36 hours after deadly pileup

The Associated Press

POTTSVILLE, Pa. — A stretch of an interstate highway in Pennsylvania reopened early Wednesday, days after a snow squall led to a deadly pileup that killed at least three people and injured dozens more.

The northbound lanes on Interstate 81 reopened just after midnight after crews finished clearing the crash site, state police tweeted. The southbound side had reopened hours after Monday's multivehicle wreck.

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The crash took place in poor visibility and involved between 40 and 60 vehicles, authorities said. It was captured in videos posted on social media that showed drivers and passengers lining the snowy road and jumping out of the way as the cascade of crashes unfolded.

In one video, an out of control tractor-trailer smashed into a large dump truck turning it nearly 180 degrees, another large truck caught fire and spewed black smoke into the air, and an SUV struck a passenger car, sending it spinning narrowly past a person standing on the shoulder in snow and fog.

Semi trucks are strewn about I-81 in Foster Township, as tow trucks respond after Monday's deadly multi-vehicle crash on both I-81 northbound lanes on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, in Schuylkill County, Pa. (Lindsey Shuey/The Republican-Herald via AP)

Some vehicles were mostly burned and others melted onto the highway. Authorities said they needed to go through each vehicle to make sure there were no human remains.

State police have not updated the number of fatalities.

Dr. David J. Moylan, the Schuylkill County coroner, has said three fatalities have been confirmed and that number could rise. A Pennsylvania State Police incident report noted 24 people were taken to four hospitals.