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Brooklyn 9-year-old among victims of deadly Pennsylvania Turnpike crash

January 7, 2020 Alex Williamson
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A 9-year-old girl from Brooklyn and a bus driver from Queens are among the victims of a fatal multiple vehicle pile-up on the Pennsylvania Turnpike that left five dead and dozens more injured early Sunday. 

Nine-year-old Jaremy Vazquez of Brooklyn and 58-year-old Shuang Qing Feng of Flushing were killed in the crash around 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning, according to authorities. Thirty-five-year-old Eileen Aria of the Bronx, a passenger on the bus, and two truck drivers were also killed.

CBS New York reported that two of the five people killed were UPS employees.  

The bus operated by Z & D Tours departed from Manhattan’s Chinatown and was bound for Cincinnati, Ohio. It swerved out of control on a downhill slope about 35 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, struck a barrier and overturned, then was plowed into by three tractor trailers, state police said. 

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Authorities said that around 60 people with a range of injuries were taken to local hospitals following the accident. Two are in critical condition, according to state police, but all are expected to survive.

Aerial footage of the accident shows the bus on its side with two trucks, one labeled FedEx, smashed into it, with debris from all vehicles and packages from the FedEx truck scattered across the roadway. Eastbound lanes along the stretch of the turnpike were closed for 13 hours following the crash. 

What caused the bus to hit the embankment remains unknown. Z & D owner Chen Dan Yu told The New York Times that the weather was likely to blame. “It suddenly started to snow,” he told the paper.  

Representatives of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission said at a press conference that workers had been treating the roadway with salt on an hourly basis since 9 p.m. on Saturday.  

Chen told the Times that the bus was carrying 56 passengers at the time of the accident.  

The National Transportation Safety Board said it will investigate the crash.

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