Pennsylvania State Police at Belfast continue to investigate a Feb. 5 two-vehicle accident on Rt. 33 south near I-78 that left a three-year-old boy dead and four others injured.
Investigating officer Tpr. Jonathan Eberle issued a news release Thursday confirming some of the basic facts related to the case, but without identifying any of the victims.
The news release said the accident happened at 7:55 p.m., roughly where Rt. 33 south ends at the I-78 interchange south of the Lehigh River bridge in Lower Saucon Township, Northampton County.
According to the release, the crash occurred when a 2004 Mercury Mountaineer driven by a 35-year-old woman from Manlius, N.Y., and a 2017 Kia Sportage operated by a 54-year-old Wind Gap woman made contact as they both attempted to exit Rt. 33 heading in opposite directions on I-78.
Police said the woman driving the Mountaineer was trying to exit on the I-78 eastbound ramp while the woman behind the wheel of the Sportage was trying to exit heading westbound, “causing both vehicles to make contact.”
At the point where Rt. 33 south turns into the eastbound and westbound I-78 on-ramps, two lanes of roadway turn into three. The left lane widens and splits into two lanes–one in each direction–while the right lane becomes part of the two-lane westbound on-ramp.
“After initial contact, (the woman driving the Mountaineer) lost control, striking the concrete center median,” the news release said. The vehicle then rolled over and two of the woman’s passengers–neither of whom was wearing a seat belt–were ejected, it said.
Police have not explained the relationship between the driver of the Mountaineer and her four passengers, all four of whom were minors, according to police.
Two of those children were ejected in the crash: the three-year-old boy who died as a result of his injuries and a seven-year-old girl who was injured, police said.
According to the news release, neither of those children was wearing a seat belt, and the only person in the Mountaineeer who was belted in was a one-year-old girl. It noted that the seatbelt status of a 16-year-old girl who was also injured in the wreck is “unknown.” However, the adult driver was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected in the crash.
The woman driving the other vehicle was wearing a seat belt and was not injured in the accident, police said.
All of the injured individuals were taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Salisbury Township for treatment, the news release said. The extent of their injuries was not disclosed.
Following the crash, Rt. 33 south between Freemansburg Avenue and the I-78 interchange was closed for approximately six-and-a-half hours, with southbound traffic detoured onto Freemansburg Avenue.
Police said the Troop M Collision Analysis Unit performed a reconstruction of the accident while the road was closed. Other parties that assisted in the response and/or investigation included the Troop M Forensic Services Unit, the Northampton County District Attorney’s office, Suburban EMS, Wind Gap EMS, Bethlehem Township EMS and Fast Lane Towing, per the news release.