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Survivor of fiery crash on I-78: 'Oh my. We are in trouble.'

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: May 13 2014 04:03:39 PM CDT
Updated On: May 14 2014 04:46:57 AM CDT

In nearly 50 years of driving, John Hudock said he'd never been in an accident.

POTTSVILLE, Pa. -

In nearly 50 years of driving, John Hudock said he'd never been in an accident. That changed Monday on Interstate 78 in Berks County

"I looked in the rearview mirror. Within seconds, I saw this big tractor trailer, red cab. I go to my daughter, 'Oh my. We are in trouble,'" recalled Hudock.

The 64-year-old Pottsville man was on his way to Lehigh Valley Hospital near Allentown with his daughter and 5-year-old grandson, who had just broken an arm.  

"Holy mackerel! I was like one car from never being around," Hudock said.

The three were inside one of the seven cars hit in the chain-reaction crash on I-78 in Greenwich Township, Berks County, near the border with Lehigh County.

Three people were killed; 12 others were taken to area hospitals, but their injuries were not serious, officials said.

"I said, 'Jen, we got to get out of the way a bit.' I pulled the car about 30 to 40 yards up and to the right," said Hudock, who credits the move for saving his family from serious injuries.

Luckily, Hudock's car wasn't directly hit by the truck, but he couldn't escape the chain-reaction.

The long-time military man said his family is fine physically; however, mentally, he said it's hard to be back on the road.

"This morning, had to come back down for an unrelated incident. To be honest, not very comfortable," Hudock said.

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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.

"I don't care what the investigation says, he was going way too fast," Hudock said. "I don't understand why he didn't see what everyone else saw."

Police haven't said whether speeding played a role in the crash.

As for Hudock, he said he and his passengers were wearing their seat belts and he stressed to other drivers the importance of always checking the rearview mirror.