Wrong-way car kills 2
Police investigate fiery crash that closed Rt. 378 for 6 hours
A vehicle heading the wrong way on southbound Route 378 slammed into another car Wednesday, breaking the nighttime silence with a violent, fiery crash that left two dead, police said.
The deadly wreck occurred at 11:22 p.m. between the Eighth Avenue and Center City exits in Bethlehem.
Police say the vehicles involved in the crash were a 2013 Hyundai Sonata and a 2003 Toyota Corolla. Both had extensive damage, and when rescue crews arrived the Toyota was on fire.
“The cars were blown apart. It was a horrific crash,” Bethlehem police Chief Mark DiLuzio said.
Authorities on Thursday afternoon identified the people killed in the wreck as Edwin Arcelay, 27, of Bethlehem, and Kaelen P. Fausey, 24, of Lower
Saucon Township. Arcelay and Fausey were each driving, but the Lehigh County coroner’s office did not disclose who was operating which car.
The coroner’s office said Arcelay’s vehicle “was struck by another vehicle,” and he died of multiple blunt force trauma. The manner of death was ruled an accident.
The cause of death for Fausey will require additional forensic testing, authorities say. The coroner’s report states Fausey was “the operator of a vehicle that struck another.”
Authorities say piecing together exactly what happened will likely take several weeks. Police would not identify which victim was driving the wrong way.
DiLuzio said investigators are looking at surveillance video from the area and seeking witnesses.
The investigation is in the “early stages” police said. The agencies involved include the police department’s Major Accident Reconstruction Team, the traffic unit as well as the Lehigh County coroner’s office.
Sirens were heard wailing for minutes on end in West Bethlehem just before 11:30 p.m. Wednesday. Firefighters were on scene and one of the vehicles appeared to have been destroyed by fire, a witness said.
By 12:30 a.m., the car fire was extinguished, but the heavy smell of burning metal hung in the air near the highway. Several emergency vehicles sprawled across the southbound and northbound lanes of Route 378, and investigators snapped photos of the wreckage.
An ash-colored husk of a vehicle sat in the center of the grass median, facing north. Another dark-colored vehicle, badly damaged in the front and back, was spun facing the guard rail in the southbound lane.
The southbound lanes reopened around 5:30 a.m. Thursday following the repair of a guardrail that was damaged in the crash.
Police said any witnesses to the crash should call Officer Jeffrey Fehr with the reconstruction team at 610-865-7180 or police at 610-865-7179.
The Lehigh County coroner’s office was called to a Wednesday night crash scene on Route 378 in Bethlehem.
Two people were killed in a crash on southbound Route 378 in Bethlehem late Wednesday night, according to the Lehigh County coroner’s office. The road remained closed early Thursday.