Two separate tractor trailer crashes about 10 miles apart snarled traffic on Interstate 80 Wednesday in Carbon and Luzerne counties.
State police say it was foggy when three tractor-trailers tangled on Interstate 80 near Lake Harmony in Carbon County.
A New Jersey trucker driving one of the rigs died. The other drivers were taken to hospitals.
It made for a busy day for one tow truck operator who had the job of cleaning up the mess. Brian Kisenweather said the the task is emotionally harder when someone dies.
“You know being out here 30 years, not that you get immune to it, but seeing it day after day, it’s hard and harder to the family but you have to deal with it and get the road open because there is commerce that has to come through here.”
The crash forced state police to close the westbound lanes of the interstate for several hours. Traffic was detoured onto Route 115 in the Blakeslee area.
Kate Burr said she sat in traffic for an hour and a half.
“It is annoying but you have to deal with it, traffic is traffic and you sit in it and wait your turn.”
Brian Arnold was on a motorcycle and sat in the rain because of the detour.
“It wasn’t what I had planned for the day. I just wanted to cruise on through.” Arnold said.
The first crash was cleared and several hours later a second big rig went out of control and snarled westbound Interstate 80 traffic again. This time, near White Haven.
The driver of the truck, Mike Mitchell said he was hauling 41,000 pounds of liquor.
“I am walking away from this without a scratch on me and that’s the main thing, so I get a chance to see my grandkids and my wife and everybody.”
Mitchell blames mechanical problems with his steering. Mitchell said he has a guardian angel watching over him.
“If anybody know like I know you make it to church and thank God that you’re still here.”
State police are still investigating both crashes on Interstate 80 in Luzerne and Carbon Counties.