Interstate 78 crash near Summit Lawn brings out heavy rescue response
A semi-trailer that veered off the highway along Interstate 78 shortly after 10 a.m. July 8, just west of the Summit Lawn entrance, ended up precariously perched on a slope next to the roadway, resulting in a small army of rescue workers responding to stabilize the shifting vehicle to extricate the injured driver.
After the initial response by Western Salisbury Fire Department personnel and initial efforts to get to the driver were stymied by the shifting of the vehicle on the slope, heavy rescue units from Eastern Salisbury, Upper Saucon and Se-Wy-Co fire companies were summoned, as well as Lehigh County technical rescue personnel from the county special operations unit.
While the driver was initially treated in his cab for facial abrasions, EMS and rescue workers had to retreat so the vehicle could be stabilized. Extensive “cribbing” and rope tie-offs had to be applied for the safety of the rescue workers.
Fire police units from Upper Saucon, Eastern and Western Salisbury fire departments limited access to the highway while the operation was ongoing.
Westbound traffic on Interstate 78 was limited to one lane for nearly three hours and a long backup was evident. Pennsylvania State Police and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation personnel kept traffic moving in the center lane of the highway.
Heavy equipment from Hauser Towing was on scene to remove the vehicle after the driver was released from the cab.
Ambulance units from Upper Saucon Township, Emmaus and the Lehigh Valley Health Network were on scene and Macungie Ambulance provided rehab service for the rescue workers working in heavy protective gear in hot, humid weather conditions.
Command officers on the scene credited extensive first responder training and inter-agency cooperation for the successful rescue without any additional injuries to rescue workers.