I-81 Car Crash Near Carlisle Kills Three

The death toll has risen to three after a tragic multiple-vehicle crash that occurred on Interstate 81 Northbound between mile markers 44 and 45 on the afternoon of December 28th. The accident closed the highway between the College Street and Hanover Street exits near Carlisle.

The Cumberland County Coroner released the names of the three people who died in the crash: Michael Smatlak, 42, of York; Terry Danner, 61, of West Fairview; and James Hawkins Jr., 45, of Bartlett, Tennessee. Two of the three passed away after being airlifted to Penn State Hershey Medical Center, and one died at the scene.

The crash occurred when a dump truck, operated by Smatlak, was heading south and crossed the median, striking Hawkins' tractor trailer, which was heading north. A pickup truck, driven by Danner, then collided with the other two vehicles. There are no barriers along that section of the highway, and some are calling for a solution to enhance the safety of the road in that area. Penn DOT will look into the incident but says it has no plans to install any cable median barriers as of now.

The accident is still under investigation; however, state police say a tire blow-out on the dump truck may have contributed to the crash.

Sources: Pennlive.com and Cumberlink.com
Photo credit: Cumberlink.com

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