PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One person was killed and eight were injured in a three-car crash along the Schuylkill Expressway Wednesday morning.
The accident happened at about 4:20 a.m. in the westbound lanes between Montgomery Drive and the Roosevelt Boulevard.
According to investigators, a black Audi sedan was traveling in the left lane when it hit a large pool of standing water and hydroplaned. The Audi spun out of control and struck the center concrete barrier.
A white Chrysler minivan that was traveling in the left lane behind the Audi abruptly slowed in the left lane to avoid striking the Audi sedan.
After the white Chrysler minivan slowed in the left lane, a tractor trailer that was traveling westbound in the left lane behind the white Chrysler minivan was not able to slow in time and struck the rear end of the minivan.
“At that point, the tractor trailer ended up rear-ending the Town & Country minivan and that pushed that into the Audi and the crash just unfolded from there down the roadway,” Cpl. John Sunderlin of the Pennsylvania State Police explained.
A passenger that was seated in the rear of the minivan was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. The deceased victim has been identified by police as 47-year-old Handy Gunawan of Philadelphia.
The crash shut down all lanes westbound for nearly three hours.
Earlier, flooding from the heavy rain forced the closure of the eastbound side of I-76 in the same area for several hours on what is traditionally one of the busiest travel days of the year.
One eastbound lane reopened to traffic shortly before 6:00 a.m. and remained that way for several hours.
Cpl. Sunderlin says, “We wanted to try and reopen the highway up and get lanes of travel moving especially because of the holiday weekend and the holiday travel, but we just had to take it piece by piece.”
PennDOT worked to unclog storm drains they say were cleaned before the storm hit, but quickly refilled with debris.
A PennDOT spokesman, Charles Metzger says, “We went ahead and made sure the storm grates were clear but of course we cannot see what is underneath the pipes and downstream from there. As the water began to come down the mountain, along with some other debris there it began to fill up the storm pipes.”
The deadly accident remains under investigation.