Thanks to the heroic efforts of firefighters from Franklin Township, Lehighton and Parryville, victims involved in a multivehicle crash along the Northeast Extension of the turnpike received quick help Tuesday afternoon.
State police at the Pocono barracks said the initial crash occurred as Melesia D. Rubio, 28, of Hickory Hills, Ill., was traveling north about 3:25 p.m., just past the Mahoning Valley interchange. As her sport utility vehicle began to cross the bridge, which carries the turnpike over SR209 and the Pohopoco Creek, she apparently lost control and the SUV rolled over, blocking both northbound lanes.
She was found lying outside her SUV. Firefighters at the scene reported the female to be pregnant and had two young children with her. The children were identified as her son, David, 10, and daughter, Olivia, 3. She suffered minor injuries and her two children were not injured, troopers said.
As a tractor trailer traveling behind her stopped for the accident it was struck in the rear by a second unit which in turn was struck in the rear by a third rig, entrapping that operator.
The first rig operator was identified as Edward Wilson, 45, of Carbondale; the second as Robert Eseltine, 44, of Dexter, N.Y., and the third Kevin Dykstra, 40, of Ontario, Canada.
Dykstra was pinned in his cab for about 35 minutes. He suffered moderate injuries, troopers said, while Eseltine had minor injuries. Wilson was not injured.
After entering the turnpike, Franklin Township rescue units had to maneuver through the heavy traffic while additional companies from Lehighton and Parryville were ordered to park along Pohopoco Drive.
Firefighters then had to scale a fence and climb a steep embankment to gain access to the turnpike roadway.
Traffic on the turnpike was backed up to the tunnel, a distance of five miles.
The road was finally reopened about 9:55 p.m.