SCHUYLKILL COUNTY -- The northbound lanes of Interstate 81 in Schuylkill County were closed for hours after a crash killed two people Wednesday afternoon.
Several vehicles were involved, including a tractor-trailer that caught fire after the crash.
Emergency crews rushed to the scene after that pileup happened just after 2 p.m. roughly six miles north of the Minersville exit (116).
State police in Frackville say the crash involved two tractor trailers and two pickup trucks.
Two people in one of the pickups were killed. The driver of the other pickup truck was flown to a trauma center for his injuries.
The deadly wreck shut down the northbound lanes for hours, bringing traffic to a standstill.
“Normally it takes 45 minutes to get here and it took me two hours,” said Debbie Clark. “That's how bad. I sat pretty much, didn't move for quite a while.”
Clark was coming from Lebanon to have dinner with her husband David at the Dutch Kitchen Restaurant in Frackville. Those dinner plans were delayed a few hours.
“They had us get off at an exit,” said Clark. “They closed 81 north and my GPS took me around and to get back on 81, but they wouldn't let us back on, so we had all these back roads.”
Workers at the Dutch Kitchen said several of their diners were coming in off the interstate, talking about the crash.
“They just kept saying how awful it was and how bad traffic was backed up. They sat for about an hour and then state police were directing traffic and finally they had to take a detour,” said cashier Eric Zenbrosky.
Zenbrosky says everyone at the restaurant was upset to hear about another deadly wreck on the interstate.
“It's terrible. It really is.”
State police say the names of the two people killed are still unknown. The Schuylkill County coroner's office is assisting in identifying the victims.