SCRANTON, Pa. — Five women from New York were killed when a tractor-trailer struck people at the scene of a crashed minivan on Interstate 81 in snowy northeastern Pennsylvania, state police said Wednesday.
The minivan, carrying four women, went out of control in the northbound lanes of I-81 in Lackawanna County, hit a concrete barrier and was left disabled in the left lane shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday, police said. A sedan carrying two of their relatives then stopped on the right shoulder, and both occupants crossed both lanes to talk with the minivan’s occupants, police said.
A northbound tractor-trailer then hit the minivan and also struck the people standing on the highway, killing three of them, and two people inside the minivan were also killed, police said.
Pronounced dead at the scene were Harvrist Zebari, 42, of Endwell; Fatma Ahmed, 71, of Binghamton; Shahzinaz Mizouri, 56, of Vestal; and Berivan Zebara, 43, and Aleen Ameen, 19, both of Johnson City, police said. The 22-year-old man who had been driving the sedan had moderate injuries and the truck driver had minor injuries, police said.
A winter weather advisory had been in effect until 4 p.m. Tuesday for the area, with several inches of snow tapering off in the afternoon. The National Weather Service warned of hazardous road conditions amid freezing temperatures, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation advised motorists to use caution.
A trucker who traveled the same direction hours later, Janet Pohoda, said the roads were slick from snow, WNEP reported.
“It’s sad, but I would tell them to get off the road for tonight until the roads are in better condition, you know, cleared up more,” she said.