Lehigh Valley

Field investigation begins into fatal Lehigh Tunnel incident

WASHINGTON TWP., Pa. - The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission says it's cooperating with a National Transportation Safety Board field investigation of the fatal incident in the southbound Lehigh Tunnel. 

The commission said the NTSB is expected to finish its inspection by Wednesday and release a preliminary report in two to four weeks. A final report may take up to a year.

The incident occurred Feb. 21, when a metal pole crashed through a truck driver's windshield after falling from the tunnel. The Lehigh County coroner said Howard Sexton, 70, was pronounced dead at the scene from injuries to his head.

The commission says the focus of the investigation is on the conduits and conduit-support system in the tunnel ceiling. 

“We are eager to understand exactly what caused this tragedy so we can work to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” said Pa. Turnpike CEO Mark P. Compton in a news release.

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