PICTURED: UPS driver and bus passenger killed in horror Pennsylvania Turnpike crash

PICTURED: Two UPS drivers and bus passenger among five killed in horror Pennsylvania Turnpike crash

  • Relatives released photos of Eileen Zelis Aria, Dennis Kehler and Daniel Kepner, who were killed in the crash at around 3.40am Sunday near Mount Pleasant
  • A tour bus lost control on a downhill curve, struck an embankment and flipped on its side, blocking traffic 
  • Two tractor-trailers rammed into the bus, followed by a third truck and a car 
  • All five victims died at the scene and 55 people were hospitalized
  • Kehler, 48, and Kepner, 53, were driving a UPS truck involved in the crash 
  • Aria and the other two victims – nine-year-old Jaremy Vazquez and 58-year-old bus driver Shuang Qing Feng – were ejected from the motor coach
  • NTSB spokeswoman Jennifer Homendy discussed preliminary findings of the crash investigation at a press conference on Monday
  • Homendy said it was unclear whether the bus was speeding before the crash
  • The owner of bus operator Z&D Tour Inc said the crash was caused by snow 

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Family members have released photos of three of the victims killed in a horror multi-vehicle crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, as investigators revealed that the bus which caused the crash did not have seatbelts and may have been speeding.  

The deadly chain-reaction collision unfolded at about 3.40am Sunday at westbound mile marker 86 near Mount Pleasant when a tour bus lost control on a downhill curve, struck an embankment and flipped on its side, blocking both lanes of traffic. Two tractor-trailers, operated by FedEx and UPS, rammed into the wreckage, followed by a second UPS truck and a car. 

Five people died at the scene and 55 were transported to area hospitals with injuries.  

A coroner released the names of the dead late Sunday night: Shuang Qing Feng, 58, of Flushing, New York; Eileen Zelis Aria, 35, of Bronx, New York; Jaremy Vazquez, nine, of Brooklyn, New York; Dennis Kehler, 48, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania; and Daniel Kepner, 53, of Lewistown, Pennsylvania.

UPS confirmed that two of its drivers, Kehler and Kepner, were among the dead. 

The men were driving together when their tractor-trailer rammed into the overturned bus.  

The other three victims were in the bus, which was traveling from Queens, New York, to Cincinnati, Ohio. 

Feng was the bus driver and Aria and Vazquez were passengers. All three were ejected from the bus, which did not have seatbelts, according to National Transportation Safety Board officials. 

PICTURED: UPS driver and bus passenger killed in horror Pennsylvania Turnpike crash

Dennis Kehler (left) and Daniel Kepner (right) were killed in Sunday’s horror crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The pair were driving a UPS truck when it struck an overturned bus

PICTURED: UPS driver and bus passenger killed in horror Pennsylvania Turnpike crash

Passenger Eileen Zelis Aria (pictured) was ejected from the bus and died at the scene

PICTURED: UPS driver and bus passenger killed in horror Pennsylvania Turnpike crash

The deadly chain-reaction collision unfolded at about 3.40am Sunday near Mount Pleasant when a tour bus lost control on a downhill curve, struck an embankment and flipped on its side, blocking both lanes of traffic. Two tractor-trailers, operated by FedEx and UPS, rammed into the wreckage, followed by a second UPS truck and a car 

Kehler – a married father who had worked as a UPS driver for 28 – has been remembered for his generous spirit and strong work ethic.  

‘I’d say he was probably the most generous person that I ever knew,’ Kehler’s brother-in-law Joel Hainley told The Lebanon Daily News

‘He treated everybody well and was just a friendly guy.

He was one of those people that you only meet a couple times in your life that you just like to be with and hang out with.’ 

Kehler’s wife Kathleen said she and their children are devastated by his death. 

‘He was a good provider, he always took care of me,’ Kathleen said.  

She added: ‘If you were down on your luck he would help you out. There was nobody I don’t think he ever said no to.’ 

PICTURED: UPS driver and bus passenger killed in horror Pennsylvania Turnpike crash

Kehler’s wife Kathleen (pictured together) said she is devastated by the 48-year-old’s death

Relatives also paid tribute to Kepner, who was in the truck with Kehler.  

‘He was a pretty cheerful guy actually,’ Dustin Kepner, the 53-year-old victim’s nephew, told FOX43. ‘He was pretty fun.’

PICTURED: UPS driver and bus passenger killed in horror Pennsylvania Turnpike crash

Veysel Gulertekin, Aria’s father, said he is heartbroken that he will never see his daughter (pictured) again

Dustin described spending his summers with his uncle, a devoted family man. 

‘He always had some little tid-bit about how to live your life and stuff and always helped me get through rough times,’ Dustin said. ‘He treated me like one of his own.’

‘Everything I say about him I do mean. He did treat me very well and his family doesn’t deserve this,’ he added.  

The father of deceased bus passenger Aria said he was devastated that he will never see his daughter again.   

‘One of her friends gave her a ride to the bus station, and she was happy and everything,’ Veysel Gulertekin told WABC. ‘You just can’t believe that.

‘At this point, it doesn’t make any difference what happened, it’s your daughter.

You just always think about the future and everything, and suddenly everything is just gone.’

PICTURED: UPS driver and bus passenger killed in horror Pennsylvania Turnpike crash

Harrowing photos show mangled wreckage at the scene of the deadly crash

PICTURED: UPS driver and bus passenger killed in horror Pennsylvania Turnpike crash

The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the crash investigation.

Aerial footage showed emergency crews surveying the wreckage in the dark 

Emergency crews spent more than 10 hours recovering the victims’ bodies from the crash site because the wreckage was so severely mangled. 

The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the crash investigation, and authorities say it could be months before the official cause is determined. 

NTSB spokeswoman Jennifer Homendy discussed preliminary findings at a press conference on Monday. 

‘I thought it was devastating,’ she said after reviewing evidence. ‘I imagine that if you were in this accident, that it was scary.’  

Homedy said the bus driver, Feng, was about 10 miles from being subbed out by another driver when he passed the FedEx truck.  

Soon after, Feng lost control of the bus and hit the concrete median before careening up the embankment on the other side of the road and then overturning in the middle. 

The FedEx truck did not have time to stop and collided with the bus, along with the UPS truck Kehler and Kepner were in.  

Lamar Brady, of Columbus, Ohio, said he was awake in a window seat on the right side of the bus and watched the crash unfold. 

Brady, 21, told the Columbus Dispatch that it seemed to him the bus driver was traveling too fast as he moved to pass the slower-moving FedEx tractor-trailer.  

Homendy said she does not know if the bus was exceeding the speed limit. State police recovered an engine control module that may provide details and investigators hope another vehicle’s outward-facing camera recorded relevant footage.

PICTURED: UPS driver and bus passenger killed in horror Pennsylvania Turnpike crash

Emergency crews spent more than 10 hours recovering the victims’ bodies from the crash site

PICTURED: UPS driver and bus passenger killed in horror Pennsylvania Turnpike crash

The bus, operated by Z & D Tours, was en route to Cincinnati, Ohio, from Queens, New York

PICTURED: UPS driver and bus passenger killed in horror Pennsylvania Turnpike crash

Video from the scene appeared to show snow falling on the roadway. It is unclear if weather was a factor in the crash

The bus carrying 56 passengers was operated by Z&D Tour Inc, which is based in Rockaway, New Jersey.  

Z&D owner Chen Dan Yu told The New York Times that weather was to blame. ‘It suddenly started to snow,’ he said. 

The National Weather Service forecast for Westmoreland County at the time of the crash listed light unknown precipitation and an air temperature just below freezing. Photos from the scene showed snow falling on the roadway. 

Turnpike spokesman Carl DeFebo told the Associated Press it was ‘premature’ to say if weather was a factor in the crash. 

Officials said the roads had been treated and stressed that they were not icy. 

Christopher Turner, director of crash and data programs for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, told the AP that the majority of all vehicle crashes involve some sort of driver behavior.

‘This is not a typical incident – buses overturning is not a common occurrence,’ Turner said. ‘But obviously the risk is tremendous.’

PICTURED: UPS driver and bus passenger killed in horror Pennsylvania Turnpike crash

NTSB spokeswoman Jennifer Homendy discussed the crash at a press conference on Monday (pictured). ‘I thought it was devastating,’ she said after reviewing evidence. ‘I imagine that if you were in this accident, that it was scary’

PICTURED: UPS driver and bus passenger killed in horror Pennsylvania Turnpike crash

Authorities say it could be months before the official cause of the crash is determined

Angela Maynard, a semi-truck driver from Kentucky, said she was traveling eastbound on the turnpike when she and her driving partner reached the scene.  

‘I looked up at that hill there, and I could see lights.

It looked like a lot of them,’ Maynard told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. ‘There was no fire, just a lot of smoke at that point.’

She and her co-driver got out of their truck to see if anyone was hurt. 

‘It was horrible,’ Maynard said. ‘I was trying to make sure everyone was okay.

‘I walked toward the scene and saw one of the truck drivers laying near the barrier. I tried to keep him occupied, keep talking, until medical help arrived. He was in bad shape.

He was floating in and out of consciousness.’

Another driver was trapped in their truck, she said. 

When first responders arrived, Maynard and others were told to clear the scene and keep driving before the turnpike was closed.  

Maynard noted that the roadway was wet from snow but not especially icy.   

PICTURED: UPS driver and bus passenger killed in horror Pennsylvania Turnpike crash

The turnpike remained closed for 15 hours on Sunday from New Stanton to Breezewood, an 86-mile stretch 

The people injured were transported to three area hospitals. State police spokesman Stephen Limani said two people suffered critical but non-life-threatening injuries and the rest of the injuries were less serious.

An Excela Health spokesperson confirmed that Frick Hospital in Mount Pleasant was treating 25 patients who ranged in age from seven to 52, with nine under 18 years old. 

Eleven of the injured were taken to Forbes Hospital in Monroeville. A spokesperson said one was in critical condition and the others are in fair condition.   

UPMC Somerset treated 18 patients – 12 adults and six under 18.  

As news of the crash spread, frightened family members flocked to the hospitals to meet their loved ones. 

Among them was Leticia Moreta, whose children Jorge, 24, and Melanie, 16, were in the bus.  

‘I was devastated,’ Moreta told the Tribune-Review.

Her son and daughter were in stable condition after the crash.

Omeil Ellis of Irvington, New Jersey, told the outlet that two of his brothers were hurt in the crash. 

He and his family were at Frick Hospital on Sunday afternoon waiting for his 17-year-old brother Quan to be released while his other brother, Anthony, was undergoing surgery at a different hospital.  

‘I was crying,’ Ellis said. ‘I was, like, crazy crying.

I’m still hurt.

I’m just weak right now.’ 

The turnpike remained closed for 15 hours on Sunday from New Stanton to Breezewood, an 86-mile stretch.  

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