Philadelphia, PA- A chain-reaction accident on 1-78 led to a fiery blaze that left three motorists dead and backed up traffic for miles, Berks County officials reported.

The accident occurred Monday afternoon around 1 p.m. in the eastbound lanes near the Lehigh County line.

Authorities said that a tractor-trailer driven by a New Jersey man failed to see that traffic had slowed and slammed into the vehicles in front of him. Four vehicles erupted in a blaze, which was quickly extinguished, but not before three people were killed.

“A tractor-trailer came upon the slowed or stopped traffic, didn’t stop in time and caused this chain-reaction crash,” state Trooper David Beohm explained to the Morning Call.

Witnesses told police that the tractor-trailer was speeding and was trying to pass a slower moving box truck on the left as traffic began to slow. Witnesses also said they tried to help the accident victims, but the fire was so hot they couldn’t even get close to the mangled wreckage.

Trooper Beohm said that a total of seven vehicles including the tractor-trailer were involved in the accident. Four of the vehicles were burned, one so badly that the license plate melted, the Morning Call reported.

The tractor-trailer jackknifed and blocked all eastbound lanes.

The names of the deceased have not been released to the public pending notification of their families.

The tractor-trailer driver, who complained of  pain, along with several crash victims were taken to area hospitals for treatment. As a normal procedure when a fatal accident occurs, the truck driver’s blood was drawn so authorities could conduct a chemical test.

Thus far authorities have not charged the truck driver but said he could face summary summonses once the investigation is complete.

Both eastbound and westbound lanes of 1-78 were closed for hours as the accident scene was cleared and police conducted their investigation.

Driver error is one of the leading causes of all traffic accidents and statements from law enforcement and witnesses indicate that the truck driver may have been at fault for this deadly accident.

Speeding and inattention are the most common risky driving behaviors both truckers and passenger vehicle motorists engage in. A speeding tractor-trailer is harder to stop and control and, as this Pennsylvania truck accident shows, can have deadly consequences.

When a truck accident can be directly attributed to driver error, the victims can hold that driver accountable for their actions by filing a wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit.

If a truck accident victim plans on seeking compensation from a careless driver, they should enlist the services of a Philadelphia truck accident attorney to launch an immediate investigation. A thorough investigation assures that a personal injury attorney can build a strong claim and secure a favorable settlement for their clients.

When an accident victim retains a Philadelphia truck accident attorney they have the opportunity to recover three times as much for their injuries as accident victims who tackle an injury claim without legal representation.