Mother and Son Dead After Wayne County Wreck

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SALEM TOWNSHIP -- “It’s something I don’t even want to think about. Masses of metal coming together.”

It happened along Route 590, known as the Hamlin Highway, in Salem Township, Wayne County.

Just after 2 p.m. Monday Mike Barnett heard the sound of crushing metal.

“It was a major collision and I only arrived at the scene 10 minutes later and it was horrendous. I don’t like to see that kind of thing,” said Barnett.

Barnett says he saw three vehicles at the scene. The Wayne County coroner confirmed two people were killed: Karen Peterson, 51, and her son, Sterling Petersun, 23, (according to the coroner, Sterling’s last name was spelled differently at birth), both of Paupack Township.

Rescue workers said others were injured and taken to hospitals.

Barnett calls this part of Hamlin Highway very dangerous.

“People speed too fast around this bend and nobody knows how to slow down. They have to go, go go, and this is the end result of it,” said Barnett.

For hours, part of the high was closed as state police investigated.

Doug DiPalma volunteers for a local fire department and was there after the crash. He also owns a towing company which took the three vehicles away.

"It was one of the worst crashes we've worked in a while. It was a pretty violent crash,” said DiPalma.

Like DiPalma, Barnett says this crash site is something he won’t ever forget.

“It was nasty. It would give you probably nightmares,” said Barnett.


  • Jerusalem Pugh

    I drive that highway and believe me speed is a huge problem.I was almost hit by a huge
    dumptruck on that same highway just a hour before this fatal crash.The driver of the truck floated over in my lane ,I had to go on the shoulder or I would be part of this story.By the way he was driving too fast.!!! let’s not make excuses , let’s SLOW down and PAY ATTENTION….

  • LinuxGuy

    Why put in the story that an average person said speed is always a problem? Is this guy a traffic engineer? How can he tell what causes crashes? Since most speed limits in PA are posted well below the 85th percentile free-flowing traffic speed, I submit that LOW speed limits CAUSE crashes.

    Check out the National Motorists Association for unbiased info.

    • LmartinK

      Are you a traffic engineer? You can post whatever speed limit you like and people will still fly through that stretch of road. Anyone who drives it regularly could tell you that speed was a major player in this accident.

      • Someone

        The dog in the back seat distracted the woman and she drifted into the other lane. The driver of the truck tried to stop but she never did. I know a few of the first responders that were on the scene. And that’s all the detail I will give to respect the victims. It was an absolutely horrific accident and I feel terribly for the family that can’t even see their loved ones one more time.

    • jimbrony

      You’re a laugh: “Check out the National Motorists Association for unbiased info.” The NMA is “a (member funded) grassroots alliance of motorists joined together to protect our rights in the courts, on the streets, and in our vehicles.” In other words, they are a lobby group for people that don’t like to follow the rules set forth for everyone. I’ve been a first responder for more years than I care to think and I can’t recall one accident where someone driving too slow caused a crash. Of course, it happens all the time with NASCAR and Indy, right? “Well Rusty, ole ‘Smoke’ just came around that corner too slow and the back end just came around on him”. Get a grip. Want to drive like a racer, get on the track – when you’re on the highway with the rest of us how about following the rules?

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