"I had no control": School Buses Transport Stranded Motorists After I-90 Crash
Thursday's massive pileup on Interstate 90 left drivers stranded for hours. School buses were used to transport drivers to the nearby Fairview Fire Department.
FAIRVIEW, Pa. - Thursday's massive pileup on Interstate 90 left drivers stranded for hours.
"The second I touched the brakes, I was gone," said Katrina Summerville, of Cranesville. "I was just in for the ride, I had no control."
It happened in the westbound lane near the Elk Creek Bridge between Fairview and Girard. Dozens of vehicles were involved, possibly 50 or 60 according to Brian Mesaros, Fairview Fire Department chief. The accident will close I-90 between Exit 16 (Fairview) and Exit 9 (Girard) likely until Friday morning, according to PennDOT.
"A couple of 18-wheelers came past us flying by in the median going about 40 or 50 (miles per hour)," said Robert Morley, of Abilene, Tex. "Then one rear-ended us throwing us in the vehicle in front of us."
These types of emergencies throw worst-case scenario plans into action. Erie County Emergency Management Coordinator Dale Robinson used the county's pre-planned detour routes for oncoming vehicles. Then, Robinson began working with the West County Emergency Management Agency and crews in Fairview Township, even calling in school buses and all-terrain vehicles to get those motorists to safety.
"By looking at the situation, they knew they were going to be there for a while, asked for those school buses," said Robinson.
That coordinated effort between county and local agencies brought a lot of people from the accident scene to the Fairview Fire Dept. on Rt. 20.
"We had a crew here for EMS to make sure they were okay," said David Duberow, Asst. Fairview Twp. Emergency Management coordinator.
Duberow and his team at the fire department are trying to make everyone feel at home, providing stranded drivers with hot meals. It's a joint system between local and county officials, to make the clean-up effort go as smoothly as possible.
"The key is preparedness, being ready, doing coordination prior to an event," said Robinson.
"Especially after a situation like this, once the adrenaline starts coming down, they might start feeling a little sore," said Duberow.
Those efforts are helping drivers after what some call the most horrifying day of their lives.
"Obviously things can be replaced, but people can't, so that's the most important thing," said Clinton Campbell, on his way from Cleveland.
PennDOT expects the westbound lane of Interstate 90 from exits 16 to 9 to remain closed until Friday morning.
The exit ramp 178A from I-79 North to I-90 East reopened Thursday evening.