A Bethpage man was among three people killed in a massive pileup Saturday on a Pennsylvania interstate that involved more than 60 vehicles and sent 73 people to hospitals, officials said.
Kenneth J. Lesko, 50, of Bethpage, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash on Interstate 78 in Bethel Township, state police in Lebanon County said.
The crash occurred shortly before 9:30 a.m. in “whiteout conditions, with very low visibility, high winds and a lot of drifting snow,” Pennsylvania state trooper Justin Summa said.
The others killed were identified as Francisca V. Pear, 54, of Bridgewater, New Jersey, and Alfred Dean Kinnick, 57, of Limestone, Tennessee.
The pileup involved 64 vehicles, 12 of them commercial. Officials also reported “numerous secondary crashes” as traffic backed up.
Seventy-three people were taken by ambulance and four medical helicopters to 11 hospitals, police said.
Lesko, a Con Edison lineman, was riding in the back seat of a Dodge Ram with friends when a tractor-trailer jackknifed in front of them, Lesko’s mother, Ethel Lesko, of Valley Stream, said. They swerved to avoid a collision and landed in a ditch when an oil tanker crashed into their truck.
The three other passengers were able to get out of the truck. Lesko was trapped inside, his mother said.
“He was loved by his co-workers, his family and all of his friends,” she said. “He was a shining star, and he will be sorely missed in this world. ”