A Berk County, Pennsylvania tractor-trailer accident killed two and injured nine people on Route 222 (Allentown Pike) just south of Route 73 on Wednesday morning.
Police said the accident happened around 6:30 a.m. A tractor-trailer smashed a line of stopped cars at a traffic light. Some of the vehicles just flipped over while others flipped and then were pinned against a Dunkin’ Donuts sign.
#UPDATE: Police: 2 killed, 9 injured in violent multi-car crash in Berks County Wednesday | http://t.co/S0XNZBhEw5 pic.twitter.com/3TxtSQ3eWJ
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The District Attorney for the county, who is investigating the case, said, “This accident today was caused by a tractor-trailer driver who dozed off and traveled into the opposing direction of traffic and caused the horrific accident you all saw today.”
Rescue units spent more than three hours trying to free trapped passengers from their vehicles. The tractor-trailer struck nine vehicles in total.
Adams identified the driver of the Berks County tractor-trailer accident as Steven Bernier. Reportedly, Bernier, 50, is a sex offender out on parole. He was driving the tractor-trailer for Harrisburg-based Cougle’s Recycling. The driver began his shift at 1:30 a.m. and admitted that he fell asleep at the wheel.
Bernier was not injured during the accident.
Officer Robert Wood from Northern Berks Regional Police was actually in the Dunkin’ Donuts when the crash occurred. He immediately ran outside to help the victims.
Wood told 6ABC News, “Being on the scene at the time that it’s happening, that’s the first time that something of this magnitude has ever happened. And I can just describe it as complete carnage.”
Police took the driver into custody at the hospital after he submitted a blood test to see if he was driving under the influence.
Bernier is charged with two counts of homicide by vehicle, nine counts of aggravated assault while driving, two counts of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment, and various traffic offenses.
The two people killed in the crash were Jane Harakel and Jeremy Augustine. The drivers were in separate vehicles, with authorities saying they were in the cars that the tractor-trailer struck first and last.
The nine other people harmed in the crash have non-threatening injuries.
The Berks County tractor-trailer accident wasn’t cleared until around 2 p.m.
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