‘Human chain’ rescues trucker on Penn Turnpike; closing Thursday

Updated Jan 29, 2016

Last weekend’s Winter Storm Jonas created treacherous driving conditions from South Carolina to    New York’s lower Hudson Valley, and claimed 48 lives, some on the highway and many from shoveling snow. It also resulted in an inspiring rescue of one truck driver.

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission map shows where Thursday’s closing will occur.

On Friday, Jan. 22 a driver reportedly lost control of his tractor/trailer on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, skidding on the rapidly falling snow. A Pittsburgh TV station reported the truck wiped out about a half of mile of guardrail and spilled diesel fuel on the highway at mile marker 156 about 20 miles east of Bedford in south central Pennsylvania.

The truck’s cab wound up teetering at the top of a steep drop off with the driver trapped inside.

Another trucker stopped and he and other motorists quickly formed a human chain to get to the driver out of the cab and to safety.

The name of the driver and his condition have not been released.

Part of the turnpike will be closed part of Thursday, Jan. 28 to recover the tractor/trailer involved in the accident.

Westbound lanes between the Breezewood (Exit #161) and New Stanton (Exit #75) interchanges will be closed starting at 9 a.m. and rare expected to be closed for about three hours.

The Turnpike Commission postponed closing the Turnpike to Jan. 28. The delay is needed to allow workers more time to prepare for the recovery of the tractor trailer so the roadway can be reopened as quickly as possible. The closure will go into effect at 9 a.m. and last about three hours.

The commission said traffic will be detoured off the highway at the Breezewood interchange to re-enter the turnpike at New Stanton interchange. The more than 100-mile detour is needed because shorter alternate routes cannot safely accommodate the diverted traffic volumes.

The suggested detour for westbound traffic is:

Exit at Breezewood Interchange, take I-70 east 24 miles to exit 1A (68/40 West, Cumberland, Maryland, 65.5 miles) to exit 14B (Uniontown) following 40 west to U.S. 119 north (63 miles) to reenter the PA Turnpike at the New Stanton Interchange.

Traffic entering Bedford Interchange (Exit #146) and points west of Breezewood can still travel westbound on the Turnpike.