Police have identified the three people who were killed during a fiery crash on Interstate-78 in Greenwich Township, Berks County.
Robert Rosner, 52, of Allentown, Pa.; Edward Dearden, 57, of York, Pa.; and Theresa Dearden, 54, also of York, all died during the accident.
On Monday around 1 p.m., police say 56-year-old Vincente Espinvera of Belleville, N.J. was driving a tractor-trailer eastbound in the left lane of I-78 at mile-marker 41.5.
As he was driving, investigators say Espinvera tried to pass a slow-moving box truck in the right lane but didn’t notice the vehicle in front of him. Police say his big rig struck the vehicle driven by Rosner.
The impact caused Rosner’s car to crash into other vehicles, creating a chain reaction. As Rosner’s vehicle continue to crash into others, it suddenly burst into flames.
The fire spread to two other vehicles along the center median. Police say Edward Dearden was driving one of those vehicles while Theresa Dearden was his passenger. The two were unable to escape and died in the fire.
Investigators say the driver of the other vehicle that caught fire managed to escape with minor injuries before his vehicle was fully engulfed in flames.
Police say Espinvera tried to back his truck away from the fire, not realizing that half of Rosner’s vehicle was stuck underneath. According to investigators, Espinvera dragged Rosner’s burning vehicle with him as he backed up approximately 70 feet. Police say this caused the fire to spread from Rosner’s vehicle to Espinvera’s truck.
Espinvera managed to escape the truck before it became fully engulfed.
Rosner died from the injuries he suffered during the accident. Police say two other people were involved in the crash though they were not seriously hurt.
The highway near the accident scene was shut down for several hours before it finally reopened Monday night.
Officials continue to investigate the incident.