Crash on I-99 leaves 2 dead

Two women struck by oncoming van should be fine

Mirror photo by William Kibler / The two women who were passengers of the upside-down mini-van, pictured off northbound I-99 south of Plank Road, were killed Monday after the van crossed the median and crashed into two northbound vehicles, officials said. A third woman in the mini-van was in critical condition.

Two women were killed late Monday afternoon on I-99 when their southbound mini-van crossed the grassy median and its cable guardrail and crashed head-on into two northbound vehicles just south of the Plank Road exit, according to state police at the scene.

A third woman in the mini-van was taken to UPMC Altoona in critical condition, according to Blair County Coroner Patty Ross.

Two women in one of the northbound vehicles were at UPMC Altoona in guarded condition, but their injuries didn’t seem to be life-threatening, according to Ross and state police.

“I think they’ll be fine,” Ross said.

Ross was working through the Cambria County coroner’s office to notify relatives of the women who died — one of who was born in 1981 and the other who was born in 1956, she said.

The mini-van was speeding, according to Ross.

“Speed was obviously a factor,” state police accident reconstructionist David Roland said.

The road was not icy, Roland said.

The mini-van came to rest upside down on the right berm of the northbound lanes, its hood on top of one of the other vehicles.

A white bumper was halfway up a 75-foot, 45-degree embankment on the right side of the northbound lanes, while a seat from one of the vehicles was on the highway about 75 feet from the pileup.

There was a quarter-mile line of cars stopped about a half-mile short of the accident pileup.

Because both northbound lanes were impassible, firefighters directed vehicles from that line one-by-one onto a median pass-through, then into the southbound lanes.

The backlog of vehicles was gone, except for a few trucks, by about two hours after the crash.

Officials opened northbound I-99 about 9:45 p.m., according to information from the scanner.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.