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Man killed in Pa. Turnpike crash

November 30, 1999|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WILLOW HILL, Pa. ? One man died Tuesday morning in a three-vehicle crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, according to a press release from Pennsylvania State Police.

The man, whose name was withheld pending notification of next of kin, was driving west in an eastbound lane of the Blue Mountain tunnel about 6 a.m., according to the release. The tunnel typically has traffic only moving west, but due to construction in an eastbound tunnel, vehicles were driving in both directions in the tunnel, said Carl DeFebo, a Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission spokesman.

The man, who was driving a Dodge Sprinter van, drove back into the correct lane, then crossed again into the opposing lane, where he struck a tractor-trailer on the side, according to the release.

The driver of the van lost control and swerved into oncoming traffic, according to the release.

The tractor-trailer, driven by James Arthur Lynch of York, Pa., continued driving east in its lane before exiting the tunnel and stopping, according to the release.

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The van then struck the right front end of another tractor-trailer before stopping. That tractor-trailer, driven by Jefferey Forrest Fehnel of Allentown, Pa., also came to a stop, according to the release.

The driver of the van was trapped inside his vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, according to the release.

The investigation was continuing.

DeFebo said the turnpike was closed from Carlisle, Pa., to Breezewood, Pa. ? about 60 miles ? until about 10 a.m. Vehicles were routed onto preplanned detours.

DeFebo said it is common when doing construction on one tunnel to redirect traffic into another tunnel. He said the altered traffic pattern played a role in Tuesday's crash.

"It definitely had something to do with it," DeFebo said. "But we've never had a problem with it before."

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