Pennsylvania Turnpike crash: National Transportation Safety Board launches investigation of fatal crash in Westmoreland County

National Transportation Safety Board member Jennifer Homendy is speaking about the government agency’s investigation of a Pennsylvania Turnpike crash that left five people dead and approximately 60 injured Sunday in Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County.Click the video player below to watch the NTSB news conference.Homendy said the NTSB would be at the scene for about seven to 10 days while a team of 20 collects evidence and information about the crash.”We have a group of experts who will focus on roadway design, driver performance, motor carrier compliance, mechanical aspects of the vehicle, survival factors, accident reconstruction,” she said, adding that other staff members will use drones to document the scene.A probable cause of the fatal crash will not be determined during the NTSB’s time in the area, Homendy said.”We are here to collect the factual information and the perishable evidence that will help us conduct that safety investigation,” she said.Homendy said, “I thought it was devastating. I imagine that if you were in this accident that it was scary.”She said the investigation could take two years.Investigators are still working to learn if the bus driver was speeding, but Pennsylvania State Police took the engine control module.Homendy said the bus with 56 passengers and the driver did not have seatbelts.She said, “It is hard when you see accident after accident. It’s tough on investigators too when you see accident after accident where a death or serious injury could have been prevented by a seatbelt.””We have issued recommendation after recommendation to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to have lap shoulder belts on motor coaches,” said Homendy.

National Transportation Safety Board member Jennifer Homendy is speaking about the government agency’s investigation of a Pennsylvania Turnpike crash that left five people dead and approximately 60 injured Sunday in Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County.

Click the video player below to watch the NTSB news conference.

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Homendy said the NTSB would be at the scene for about seven to 10 days while a team of 20 collects evidence and information about the crash.

“We have a group of experts who will focus on roadway design, driver performance, motor carrier compliance, mechanical aspects of the vehicle, survival factors, accident reconstruction,” she said, adding that other staff members will use drones to document the scene.

A probable cause of the fatal crash will not be determined during the NTSB’s time in the area, Homendy said.

“We are here to collect the factual information and the perishable evidence that will help us conduct that safety investigation,” she said.

Homendy said, “I thought it was devastating. I imagine that if you were in this accident that it was scary.”

She said the investigation could take two years.

Investigators are still working to learn if the bus driver was speeding, but Pennsylvania State Police took the engine control module.

Homendy said the bus with 56 passengers and the driver did not have seatbelts.

She said, “It is hard when you see accident after accident. It’s tough on investigators too when you see accident after accident where a death or serious injury could have been prevented by a seatbelt.”

“We have issued recommendation after recommendation to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to have lap shoulder belts on motor coaches,” said Homendy.