Crash in Construction Zone on Interstate 81

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BENTON TOWNSHIP -- Emergency crews responded to a crash in a construction zone on Interstate 81 in Lackawanna County.

It happened on Interstate 81 north near the Susquehanna County line after 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Authorities said a driver slammed into a contractor's van in a road construction area.

Firefighters had to pull apart the Pontiac to get the woman driving it out and into an ambulance. First responders believe she crossed into a closed lane of Interstate 81 north in a construction zone ahead of a bridge project farther north.

"When I pulled up on scene, the one person was trapped heavily in the car, and the vehicle that was in the construction zone, the driver of that was laying in the median strip," said Dave Duchnik of Duchnik's Towing.

The construction worker was parked in a van, lights on, in the left lane. The collision caused him to be thrown from the van's open door. His coworkers say he was hurt but is expected to be OK.

Half of the warning sign on the back of his van laid in the road after the crash, the other half wedged in the Pontiac's grill.

"Basically, it's just another thing that somebody wasn't paying attention in a construction zone," said Duchnik.

"From what they said, she didn't slow down. She hit the van and, like Dave said, it's the 'Move Over Law.' If you see lights, you're supposed to move over, whether they're yellow, whether they're blue, whether they're red, it's just too common anymore," said Scott Township Fire Chief Matthew Pritchyk.

First responders say this speaks to the risks of working on the highway and how important it is for drivers to slow down in construction zones.

"We take our lives out there every day and try and do the best we could and hopefully we all come home safe," Pritchyk said

A driver slammed into the van in a construction zone.



  • Have respect

    I’d just like to say that without the whole story you shouldn’t just assume that she was on her cell phone or her driving was bad… The sad truth is a beautiful person lost her life and another person was injured… The circumstances of what happened I’m sure will come to light, but until then at least have some decency and respect for her family… They lost a daughter, a nice, a very dear loved one… My thoughts and prayers go out to both families, I had the pleasure of knowing her awhile and anyone who knew her, knows what a loss it is to have lost her and have another person injured… There’s usually more to a story then what is portrayed like maybe medical issues… Please don’t just assume the worst or whatever you want it to be!!!

  • Jen

    Everyone on here is posting nasty comments this accident just happened no one knows if she had a medical condition or anything stop if it was Ur family member think of how u would feel. She was someone’s daughter a sister a aunt a friend think of how they feel reading this

  • KAS2017

    Maybe for once, everyone can show some class, and out of courtesy for her family, keep your rude comments to yourself.

  • Paul Bush

    It actually turns out, the driver of the Pontiac just got done working a 12 hour shift and was on her way to class! So she was exhausted. The construction worker was hurt but she was killed. Who really lost here! Both had families and lives to live but only one of them will continue.

    • No excuses!

      Doesn’t matter. If you’re that tired you shouldn’t be on our roads creating hazardous situations on other people. It’s the same if not worse than driving drunk.

    • 🙄

      Where did it say she was killed? I didn’t see that. Not being rude just wondering. If indeed she was, prayers to her family. Prayers even if she wasn’t killed. You don’t want to see anything bad to happen to anyone no matter what the issue is.

      • K. Marie

        Only friends and family know of her passing. She truly was a great person and loved everyone with her whole heart. I doubt it was because of not paying attention. She valued life too much. She valued other people.. even strangers too much.

    • PZ

      My son was the construction worker just doing his job and trying to provide for his family. We are thankful that he wasnt more seriously injured or killed. It was an accident that no one wanted to happen. We are truly sorry for her passing and offer condolences to her family and friends.

    • Best Driver

      I alternate between both counties. Not all of us are bad drivers. But most people do need their licenses ripped. What was she doing that she hit a van? More than likely looking at her phone. Ill admit i drive a lot faster than i should but i respect these guys and gals enough to slow down through any construction zone. I don’t even look at my phone either I just talk to it. Either to call someone or text its hooked up by bluetooth. She should lose her license.

      • KAS2017

        Lose her license?! She lost her life. Maybe everyone should have some common decency and consideration for her family, by keeping their mouths shut. Not every thought that crosses your mind needs to be shared.

      • Jordan

        Umm for the Ppl talk trash no my friend/co-worker need to shut up their is more to it and things that lead up to this.

  • Best Driver

    People are so freaking stupid. Get off your damn cell phone and drive your car on the road. PennDOT needs to start ripping licenses not giving them away so easy. This past winter alone people were getting stuck in the blizzard and I drove by while they looked like idiots. I’m not saying all drivers are bad but most are. I’m 26 and I have been driving, if you want to include toys, since I was two and a half. I drive better than most.

    • kk2509

      I drive on 81 five days a week. It’s amazing to me how this keeps happening. You are warned well in advance of the up coming construction and lane closures. This isn’t rocket science! Slow down and pay attention.

      • Granny

        That is part of the problem. You are warned too far on advanced. You can travel 5 or more miles before there is construction. Or the signs are up and there is no construction at all. I blame PennDot for a lot of accidents

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