SOUTH ABINGTON TOWNSHIP -- Part of Interstate 81 south in Lackawanna County was closed for hours due to a fiery crash involving seven vehicles.
According to PennDOT, multiple tractor trailers crashed in the southbound lanes of Interstate 81 near the Clarks Summit exit (194). The crash happened around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.
For those who got stuck overnight, many say what looked like wet roads at first turned out to be much, much worse.
The pileup closed Interstate 81 southbound near Clarks Summit for more than 10 hours. The culprit was slick roads which emergency crews say caused seven vehicles to crash, among them six tractor trailers including one that caught fire.
"The fire kept getting bigger and bigger and I told him to get out of the trucks. So did the paramedic," said Paul Fidel of Syracuse, New York.
Also in the thick of it all was a Jeep. It smashed into and wedged itself into one of the tractor trailers that flipped over. Two people from this pileup were taken to the hospital to be checked out.
Behind the mess were a few other minor crashes as people tried skidding to a stop. Allie Giombolini of Jessup was one of those who hit the brakes.
"It just looked wet but it was black ice," said Giombolini.
A thick coating of ice is something that a lot of drivers said they really didn't anticipate. That's because for the most part while they were cruising during their commute overnight, the roads just looked wet.
"You were driving fine the whole way down the hill. Once you got around this bend, it was completely like a skating rink."
Gerald Hart of Fleetville spent more than 10 hours in his car. He was just one of hundreds trying to pass the time by sleeping or talking with loved ones.
Hart's biggest concern was one so many of us can relate to.
"I've been watching the gas gauge as we go and thank God my heat still works. Crazy," said Hart.
"I just saw a tractor trailer jackknife and I tried to slow down. And I started sliding and everybody behind me was sliding, and I was just glad I got it stopped," said Dale Cox, a tractor trailer driver.
And just after 9:30 a.m. the mess was just about cleaned up, allowing hundreds of stranded drivers who spent the night in a one-mile backup a chance to finally get moving again. The detour was cleared by about 11:15 a.m. and traffic was getting by the crash scene. Both lanes reopened by about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
State police are still investigating what led to this pile up. There is no word if anyone will be cited for driving too fast for conditions.
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