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Interstate 81 reopens more than 8 hours after fatal crash in Carlisle
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Interstate 81 reopens more than 8 hours after fatal crash in Carlisle

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One person is dead and two others have been taken to Penn State Hershey Medical Center following a crossover crash Wednesday on Interstate 81.

The Cumberland County Coroner and two Life Lion helicopters, as well as multiple other first responders, were called to the scene of what Cumberland Goodwill EMS called a "significant accident" with "multiple patients." The crash occurred between the College Street and Hanover Street exits, close to the on-ramp at College Street.

Around 2:45 p.m., a dump truck that was traveling south in the left lane of the highway blew out a tire causing it to cross the median and strike a tractor trailer traveling in the northbound lane head on, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

The tractor trailer driver was killed as a result of the crash, police said.

The driver of the dump truck and the driver of a pick-up truck that was traveling north on Interstate 81 and was also involved in the crash were flown to Hershey Medical Center, according to police.

As of Wednesday evening, no further information about the drivers was available.

The crash forced the closure of the northbound lanes for hours, with traffic diverted off at Exit 44 (Allen Road/Plainfield). Most of that traffic ended up in downtown Carlisle, with tractor-trailers and other vehicles traveling on Ritner Highway and West High Street before turning onto South Hanover Street to get to the Hanover Street entrance back onto I-81.

Some vehicles opted for Walnut Bottom Road, which also increased traffic heading to the Hanover Street interchange.

Carlisle Police reported they had officers at most of the major downtown intersections directing traffic and making sure traffic flowed smoothly.

Traffic got heavier as the evening rush hour hit, sending standstill backlogs on I-81 north close to Newville. Though southbound lanes remained open, traffic was backlogged from the crash site to Mechanicsburg, and later to near the Wertzville Road exit during rush hour.

As of 11:25 p.m., the northbound lanes of I-81 were reopened.

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