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Three Construction Workers, 38-Year-Old Woman Killed in Separate Truck Crashes in York, Lancaster Counties

construction barriers

Many types of car crashes can lead to fatal injuries, but the risk goes up with the size of the vehicles. That is why commercial truck accidents are so dangerous, a point that was tragically reiterated in central Pennsylvania over the last week and a half.

Four people were killed in two collisions, one in Lancaster County on April 11 and another in York County on Wednesday.

Box Truck Hits and Kills Three Construction Workers on Interstate 83

The fatal work zone accident happened early Wednesday morning in a work zone on a section of Interstate 83 in the northern area of York County.

The crash happened by mile marker 35.5 between 3 and 4 a.m. in Fairview Township. A box truck hit a crash truck with flashing arrows that was directing traffic to the left lane. After the collision, the box truck moved onto the shoulder and hit the three construction workers. Two of the workers suffered multiple blunt force trauma while a third suffered blunt force injuries.

The York County Coroner’s Office identified the deceased as Jesse McKenzie, 24, of Somerset, PA; Robert Hampe, 42, of Meyersdale, PA; and Philson Hinebaugh III, 24, of Johnstown, PA.

The deceased were employed by CriLon Corp, and they were part of a crew that was sealing cracks on I-83 and Route 30. This project began this week and is being completed at night.

The crash happened during National Work Zone Safety Week, an initiative aimed at promoting safe driving through construction zones. Last year, Pennsylvania saw an increase in work zone fatalities (22 deaths in 2023 compared to 14 in 2022), which shows that work zone safety is an ongoing challenge in the state.

CriLon Corp issued a statement about the incident, expressing deep sadness and emphasizing the need for drivers to be alert and cautious in work zones.

What Can Truck Drivers Do To Avoid a Work Zone Collision?

While there are steps construction workers can take to reduce the risk of a truck crash, such as wearing brightly colored clothing and using adequate lighting, much of the responsibility rests with truck drivers.

These are some steps truck drivers and others operating motor vehicle can take to reduce the risk of a dangerous collision in a work zone:

  • Observe Work Zone Speed Limits: Speed limits are there for a reason, and they are often reduced in work zones to help protect workers.
  • Maintain a Safe Following Distance: Construction zones change the flow of traffic, so drivers need to be prepared to quickly slow down or change lanes. Leaving more space in front gives truck drivers the extra time they need to avoid a crash.
  • Avoid Distractions: Truck drivers should always keep their eyes on the road, but especially when they are in a work zone.
  • Plan for Delays: Unfortunately, this is not always possible for truck drivers, as they have tight deadlines they cannot miss. This often results in reckless driving, regardless of road conditions. Truck drivers are also on the road at night, making it harder to see.

Woman Killed in Tractor-Trailer Crash on Pennsylvania Turnpike

In the early morning hours of April 11, a tractor-trailer rear-ended a Mercedes-Benz ML350, fatally injuring the Mercedes driver. She was later identified as Kelly Little.

The crash happened in Lancaster County on a stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike around 2 a.m. in Clay Township.

Little’s vehicle was stopped in the right lane on the westbound side of the Turnpike. The police later said they did not know why Little’s vehicle was stopped and in park.

The Peterbilt tractor-trailer drove the Mercedes off the road, causing it to rollover. According to the police, the truck driver tried to stop to avoid the crash. The driver did not suffer any injuries in the collision.

The accident occurred at approximately 2:10 a.m. in Clay Township. Little was found in her 2011 Mercedes-Benz ML350, which was inexplicably stopped in the right westbound lane of the Turnpike. Despite the vehicle being parked with both headlights and taillights activated, it was struck from behind by a Peterbilt tractor-trailer.

Why Rear-End Truck Crashes are so Dangerous

Last week’s collision emphasizes the severe risks of rear-end truck collisions. Here are some of the major risk factors in these collisions:

  • Severe Vehicle Damage: Trucks are so much larger than passenger vehicles that they cause significant damage in a collision. Whenever there is significant vehicle damage, there is a higher risk of severe injuries to vehicle occupants.
  • Increased Risk of Whiplash and Other Serious Injuries: The impact can cause severe whiplash, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage or severe broken bones.
  • Secondary Collisions: The force of a truck hitting a car can propel the vehicle into other cars or off the road. This could lead to a crash with a fixed object or even a rollover.

Call Schmidt Kramer After a Pennsylvania Truck Crash

Have you been injured or lost a loved one in a commercial truck accident?

One of the most important steps you can take after such a serious crash is to call an experienced Harrisburg truck accident attorney. A lawyer can help you determine if you may be able to seek compensation for the damages from the collision.

The trucking company and other potentially liable parties are probably already hard at work trying to avoid accountability. You can help level the playing field by hiring an experienced lawyer with the resources and knowledge to preserve evidence and build a robust case.

No upfront costs or fees. Millions recovered for our clients. Call us at: (717) 727-2550.