NewsNational/International News


Pa. Turnpike crash: 9-year-old Brooklyn child among 3 NYC victims in deadly pileup, officials say

5 killed, dozens injured in massive pileup on Pennsylvania turnpike
5 dead, dozens hospitalized in Pennsylvania Turnpike crash
Posted at 5:19 AM, Jan 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-06 17:34:36-05

GREENSBURG, Pa. — Three people from New York City, including a child from Brooklyn, were among the five killed in a tragic multi-vehicle pileup on the Pennsylvania Turnpike early Sunday, officials have confirmed.

The deadly crash happened around 3:30 a.m. near Greensburg, Pennsylvania, and sent about 60 people to local hospitals with injuries of varying severity, according to authorities.

At a news conference Sunday, State Police spokesperson Stephen Limani described the horrifying pileup as a "chain-reaction" involving a tour bus, three tractor-trailers and a passenger car.

The Westmoreland County coroner confirmed the deaths and identities of the victims late Sunday.

Those killed in the crash include bus passengers Jaremy Vasquez, 9, of Brooklyn, and Eileen Zelis Aria, 35, of the Bronx; as well as bus driver Shuang Qing Feng, 58, of Flushing, Queens.

The sex of the juvenile victim is unclear at this time. The coroner's office said Vasquez was a girl, while the state police are saying the child was a boy.

The remaining two victims were UPS employees Dennis Kehler, 48, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and Daniel Kepner, 53, of Lewistown, Pennsylvania.

Autopsies are scheduled to be performed Monday and the cause and manner of death for all five victims are pending autopsy results, toxicology results and further investigation into the crash, the coroner's office said.

There is still confusion over the origin and destination of the Z & D Tours bus. State Police said they believed it was traveling from Rockaway, New Jersey, to Cincinnati, Ohio, however other reports have said the bus left from Chinatown in New York City and was heading for Columbus, Ohio.

The National Transportation Safety Board says it dispatched a team of more than a dozen to investigate.

Limani said that a number of the tourists traveling on the bus were believed to be from other countries. Some of the people spoke Japanese and some spoke Spanish, Limani said. It's not clear if the 52-passenger bus was full.

An Excela Frick Hospital spokeswoman said at least 25 victims, ranging in age from 7 to 52 years old, were transported to the Mt. Pleasant Township location.

The crash closed the turnpike for an 86-mile stretch.

Officials said Sunday it was too soon to determine if weather was a major factor in the incident.

Watch Sunday night's news conference about the crash in full below: