Deadly Crash Closes Schuylkill Expressway

Police say a man fleeing an earlier crash scene on foot began a chain reaction of events that left 2 dead & I-76 closed for hours

By Dan Stamm
|  Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013  |  Updated 4:52 PM EDT
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A man that fled the scene of an earlier accident was walking on the eastbound lane of I-76 and West Conshohocken when a motorcyclist crashed into the man. Police say both men were killed. NBC10's Jesse Gary reports on how the fatal accident shut down the freeway for hours.

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A man that fled the scene of an earlier accident was walking on the eastbound lane of I-76 and West Conshohocken when a motorcyclist crashed into the man. Police say both men were killed. NBC10's Jesse Gary reports on how the fatal accident shut down the freeway for hours.

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Commuters woke up to a traffic nightmare this morning thanks to a deadly crash along one of the busiest roadways for people going into the city to work. And, the wreck was likely caused by a man trying to run away from a previous crash, according to investigators.

The two-vehicle crash, involving the pedestrian, a motorcyclist and another car, took place around 1:15 a.m. a little bit before the Conshohocken Curve in the inbound eastbound lanes of the Schuylkill Expressway (I-76) in Lower Merion Township, Pa. The roadway wouldn't reopen until shortly before 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Two people died in the wreck, police said.

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According to State Police, it began when a North Wales, Pa. resident Arnold Khemdy lost control of his car and hit a guardrail during a one-vehicle wreck on the ramp from I-476 to I-76 eastbound. Khemdy, 20, then fled the scene of the crash and was on foot in the right travel lane near mile-marker 333 -- less than one mile from the first crash -- when a group of motorcyclists drove up. One of the bikers, Philly resident Hour Song Chheng, 40, hit Khemdy and was thrown from his bike onto roadway while Khemdy landed on the shoulder. Both men died at the scene.

A car was also involved in the wreck but isn't believed to be responsible for either death, police said.

It wasn't clear why Khemdy fled the first crash.

The closure went from the Blue Route (I-476) to the Belmont Exit. Entrances from Conshy to the Blue Route and Schuylkill Expressway were closed as well.

Motorists, including members of the NBC10 news team trying to get into work, mulled around outside of their cars as they waited in the backup. After a couple hours, small cars were turned around and went the wrong direction to get off the highway. Some tractor-trailers remained stopped on the highway since it was too tight of a squeeze to turn around.

Shortly after 5:30 a.m. some of the stuck big rigs began to slowly move past the crash scene as clean up continued.

Just before 6 a.m. all traffic started to get by the crash site and shortly after ramps to the highway began to reopen.

The closure packed up traffic along alternate routes including Conshohocken State Road (Route 23) and Ridge Pike. Luckily, since the wreck was cleared right as the morning rush ramped up there weren't many residual delays. The normal morning commute delays did quickly come into play however by 6:30 a.m.

 


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