Interstate 81 in Cumberland County is back open after a deadly crash Thursday closed the highway for most of the day.
State police said just before 8 a.m. Thursday morning, a tractor trailer was travelling north on I-81 near the College Street exit, when there was a fender bender just down the highway. Troopers said the tractor trailer did not stop in time and overturned in the median, hitting five other vehicles. One of those vehicles ended up under the tractor trailer.
State police said the truck driver, who is from Texas, was not wearing a seat belt, and died.
All of the other people involved in the crash are from the Midstate. PennDOT said they were not seriously injured.
Although this happened in the morning, backlogs on I-81 lingered for miles, well into the afternoon.
“Oh I’ve been in traffic for quite a while and it’s been quite a few miles back and I don’t know how long behind me,” said Kenny LePage, who was travelling from Virginia to New York.
Drivers tried to find alternate routes, causing the secondary and back roads to back up.
“We just either stay home or try to. If we have to go anywhere we just take our time,” said Earl Keller, who has lived in Carlisle for nearly 80 years. “Fortunately we know some of the side streets that we can take and some of the back roads we can use and that’s what we did today,” he said.
Keller also said accidents on I-81 cause traffic backlogs in Carlisle fairly often.
“And I guess you can expect that with the amount of traffic that goes through town,” said Keller. “But it sure blocks up the area when we have an accident here.”
Fritzi Schreffler, a PennDOT Spokesperson, said there is not much they can do about it.
“The unfortunate reality is we can’t put a bubble over Carlisle and tell people that they can’t get off and they can’t come into the town,” said Schreffler.
Schreffler also said if you are ever stuck in crash traffic, keep your eyes on the road, and your focus in check.
“People who are being inconvenienced on the local roads need to understand that there was a fatality and it does take time to do the reconstruction and for our guys safely to be able to remove all the debris,” said Schreffler.
State police are investigating the crash.