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HELLERTOWN, PA – A truck driver was killed Thursday morning, Sept 2, in a fiery truck accident in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. The fatal rear end collision involved two tractor trailer trucks and a car and occurred on Interstate 78 East in Lower Saucon Township just west of the city of Hellertown. The accident area is in the Allentown metro region in the far east-central section of the state, about 75 miles south of Scranton, PA and about 52 miles northwest of Trenton, New Jersey.

Fiery big rig accident in Lehigh Valley PA kills driver.

Early Thursday morning 52 year old Mario Chacon of Palmer Township, PA was driving a semi trailer truck east on Interstate 78 near the border between Lehigh and Northampton counties. He apparently was experiencing some kind of mechanical problem with his rig and the truck driver pulled his 18 wheeler truck off the highway and onto the right shoulder near mile marker 65, approximately two miles west of the city of Hellertown, PA.


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At the same time, 47 year old Richard D. Pedota of Woodside New York was also driving a semi trailer truck east on Interstate 78 in Lower Saucon Township, PA. At about 6:30 a.m. he was approaching the area where Mr. Chacon was sitting in his stopped tractor trailer on the side of the interstate.

Several area departments responded to the fiery collision site including firefighters from Hellertown, Southeastern, Bethlehem, Leithsville, and SeWyCo.

When Mr. Pedota reached mile marker 65 his semi truck slammed into the back of the stopped trailer truck. The force of the truck accident knocked the rear axle of the trailer off the semi cab. The cab went down an embankment at the side of the highway. At that point an eastbound passenger car crashed into the back of the semi truck and slid under the trailer section, bursting into flames. The fire quickly spread to the other vehicles.

Rescue teams from several area departments responded to the fiery collision site including firefighters from Hellertown, Southeastern, Bethlehem, Leithsville, and SeWyCo. Mr. Chacon suffered fatal injuries in the truck accident and was pronounced dead at the scene. The second truck driver, Mr. Pedota, was also injured and was transported to a nearby St. Luke’s Hospital. His condition is not known at this time.

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The unidentified driver of the passenger car was extricated from his vehicle after the truck accident and also transported to St. Luke’s Hospital. The severity of his injuries was not released but it is believed he is being treated for burns.

Pennsylvania State Police shut down a section of eastbound I-78 while firefighters battled the burning vehicles and EMTs treated the victims of the truck accident. A major traffic jam ensued as morning commuters were rerouted to secondary roads around the fiery site.

According to police there was a delay in clearing the truck accident site as initial reports indicated that one of the semi trailer trucks was carrying dangerous materials that required Haz-Mat clean-up. However officials determined that there were no dangerous materials and the clean-up was handled by highway crews including workers form the PA Department of Transportation.

It would take most of the day to clear the interstate after the truck accident. Officers reopened one eastbound lane around 5:15 p.m. and all traffic lanes were opened by about 9:15 p.m. Thursday night.

No charges have been brought at this time and the truck accident remains 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.

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