MONROE COUNTY, PA – A driver received multiple charges after a deadly truck accident Thursday night in Monroe County, Pennsylvania. The semi trailer truck collided with several cars before bursting into flames on Route 209 near the city of East Stroudsburg. The accident area is in the northeast section of the state on the border with New Jersey, about 99 miles north of Philadelphia, PA and about 65 miles west of Newark, New Jersey.
At about 8:00 p.m. Thursday night, June 24, William E. Blackburn of Rochester Hills, Minnesota was driving a semi trailer truck north in the right lane of Route 209 in Monroe County, PA. As the truck driver traveled through the area near Stroudsburg, he came upon five northbound vehicles stopped for a red light at the intersection of Route 209 and Shafer Schoolhouse Road.
According to police, as the truck driver approached the stopped line of vehicles he allegedly looked down at his dashboard for a moment, and when he looked back up he was too close to the stopped cars to avoid a collision. Mr. Blackburn plowed into the Mini Cooper car driven by Susan Erben of NYC, New York, setting off a chain reaction crash that would leave one woman dead.
The force of the rear end truck accident pushed Ms. Erben’s car into the vehicle in front of her, a Chevrolet Corvette driven by Enrique Gutten of Wilmington. The Corvette was shoved into the left lane of traffic where it collided with a Chrysler 300. After hitting the Corvette, Ms. Erben’s Mini Cooper went across the intersection and crashed into a guardrail alongside the highway.
The semi trailer truck which set off the chain reaction hit another vehicle and then slammed into a Hyundai Santa Fe driven by Shelia Chelnik of East Stroudsburg. Brett Chelnik was a passenger in the Hyundai, which ended up in the center of the intersection. The 18 wheeler then went off the highway and crashed into the traffic control light. The force knocked the traffic pole off its base and it crashed down upon the Hyundai Santa Fe.
Local firefighters and rescue personnel responded to the scene of the truck accident and immediately provided aid to the victims and worked to extinguish the burning semi trailer.
The driver of the Mini Cooper, Ms. Erben, suffered fatal injuries in the truck accident and was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Corvette, Mr. Gutten, and the unidentified driver of the Chrysler 300 were treated and stabilized at the scene and then transported to Pocono Medical Center in East Stroudsburg, PA.
The driver of the Hyundai, Ms. Chelnik and her passenger Mr. Chelnik, apparently sustained life threatening injuries in the truck accident and were medically airlifted to Lehigh Valley Medical Center.
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The truck driver, Mr. Blackburn, was not injured but was reportedly shaken and distraught after the truck accident. He apparently attempted to commit suicide by trying to run into the flames of his truck and had to be restrained.
All lanes of Route 209 were shut down while emergency personnel aided the victims and officials reconstructed the truck accident. At least some of the lanes are expected to remain closed until sometime Friday.
After preliminary investigation of the deadly chain reaction collision it appears that the truck driver may have been distracted and according to at least one witness was speeding at the time of the truck accident.
At this time the truck driver has been charged with Homicide by Vehicle, Careless Driving, and Following Too Closely. He is being held on a $100,000 bond in the Monroe Correctional Facility. The truck accident is still under investigation.
For more information about Pennsylvania trucking laws, truck injury causes and victims rights, contact a nationwide truck accident attorney at Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP for expert advice. For a free initial consultation, talk to a PA truck accident lawyer at 800.773.6770.