The three people killed in a fiery accident on Interstate 78 in Berks County have been identified.
A tractor trailer, driven by Vincente Espinvera, struck the rear of a car driven by Robert Rosner, 52, a deputy Pennsylvania attorney general and former Lehigh County prosecutor.
Rosner's car was pushed into several others and burst into flames. He died at the scene.
"It just seems very unfair, the way this had to happen," said Terry Houck, Northampton County's first assistant district attorney, who worked with Rosner for several years in Lehigh County. He described the Sellersville, Bucks County, man as an upright prosecutor and devoted family man.
The fire then spread from Rosner's car to two other cars along the center median. Edward Dearden, 57, was the driver of one of those two cars. He and his passenger, Theresa Dearden, 54, both of York, could not escape their car and died.
"I'm just sad to hear it," said Lola Bloss, who lived next-door to the Deardens for about five years.
Bloss and her husband, Barry, described the couple as hard-working, pleasant neighbors.
"They were lovely, friendly people… I'm really in shock," said Bloss.
The driver of the other vehicle escaped the car with minor injuries before it was engulfed in flames.
Espinvera attempted to back up his tractor trailer when he saw the fire, but in doing so dragged Rosner's car with his and caused the fire to spread to his tractor trailer, police said.
Espinvera, 56, of Belleville, N.J., escaped before the tractor trailer became engulfed in flames.
The accident was reported around 1:15 p.m. Monday on the eastbound side of the highway, at milepost 41.4 in Greenwich Township, not far from the border between Berks and Lehigh counties.
Twelve other people were taken to area hospitals, but their injuries were not serious, officials said.
Investigators said the driver of the tractor trailer that started the chain-reaction crash will likely face at least a summary offense for the accident.