Drivers and Turnpike Officials React After Deadly Incident in Lehigh Tunnel

LEHIGH COUNTY -- State police and turnpike officials are investigating after a deadly incident in the Lehigh Tunnel Wednesday night.

An electrical conduit fell from the ceiling, crashing into the windshield of a passing tractor trailer.

The driver, Howard Sexton, 70, from New Jersey, was killed.

State police said they found him dead in his rig about a mile away on the shoulder of the turnpike.

The southbound lanes were closed for 19 hours afterward as crews worked to make repairs.

"I knew that something happened on the turnpike but I didn't know exactly what happened and I didn't know we were going to be running into all of this,” said Karen Dillon of Lake Township.

Turnpike officials say the Lehigh Tunnel is the only tunnel in the state where electrical conduits are above drivers.

At a diner just off the Turnpike near Allentown, people were talking about the deadly incident.

"I think the lights should be on the side of the tunnel instead of overhead like the original tunnel, so, yeah, I'd be a little skeptical,” said Phil Quinn of Lake Township.

The tunnel is inspected every 2 years.

Turnpike officials say it was last inspected in 2016 and is due for another check this upcoming September.

"I do take the turnpike to and from when I go see my family in Scranton which is every holiday and sometimes throughout the month so it's like, I think I'm going to find a different way to take. I don't think I'll be taking the tunnel anymore,” said Brittany McGowan of Allentown.

"It's going to make me think really more than twice because I don't even want to think about even coming back to Philadelphia after having this happen,” said Dillon.


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