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'The Walking Wounded': First Responder Describes Deadly Turnpike Crash As One He'll Always Remember

NEW STANTON, Pa. (KDKA) - Overall, 32 ambulances rushed in from Westmoreland, Somerset and Fayette counties for the deadly Pennsylvania Turnpike accident that killed 5 and injured 60.

Captain Scott Graham from Mutual Aid Ambulance Service said 20 ambulances transported patients early Sunday morning while 12 were on standby.

Chief Lloyd Crago of the Youngwood Fire Department told KDKA's Meghan Schiller that it was imperative to corral all of the people into one area to really be able to assess everyone's injuries.

He said the horrific scene looked like one from a movie.

pennsylvania turnpike crash
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Chief Crago described it as a very violent crash scene -- one that he'll always remember.

"It was sort of one of those things you'd see in the movies, type thing," he said.

"Everybody just sort of walking around, trying to get away from it. There were people with no shoes on, just the walking wounded type. Then you started to figure out how many people were there: how many DOAs and just searching for people."


Five people were killed in the crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike early Sunday morning. Sixty others were sent to the hospital.

The driver of the bus, 58-year-old Shuang Qing Feng of Flushing, New York, was thrown from the bus and died at the scene. With the bus now on its side, state police say it was struck by a FedEx tractor trailer. The impact threw two passengers from the bus.

turnpike crash-2
(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Ian Smith)

Eileen Aria, 35, of the Bronx, New York, and 9-year-old Jaremy Vazquez of Brooklyn, New York, were also pronounced dead at the scene.

And on top off all the horror they saw at the scene, first responders later learned that one of their own died that morning. Paramedic Matthew Smelser was killed while responding to an accident on I-70.

For that reason, Chief Crago said he wants everyone to keep the first responders in their thoughts and prayers for the next few days as they process through this.

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