Couple tragically killed on the way to their wedding after a tractor-trailer crashed into their car causing it to burst into flames
The accident then caused the couple's vehicle to push into the back of another tractor-trailer, resulting in a chain reaction where four other articulated lorries were involved.
A New Jersey couple was tragically killed while they were on the way to their Pennsylvania wedding after a tractor-trailer mowed down their vehicle on the Interstate 78 in Windsor Township, Berks County and caused it to burst into flames. 35-year-old Kathryn M. Schurtz and fiancé Joseph D. Kearney both lost their lives in the collision, with three other people also reportedly injured as a result of the impact of the accident.
According to the Daily Mail, the couple was driving to Pittsburgh, where they would be tying the knot, when the driver of the tractor-trailer failed to slow down on the interstate and plowed into their vehicle. The accident then caused the couple's vehicle to push into the back of another tractor-trailer, resulting in a chain reaction where four other articulated lorries were said to be involved.
In footage captured from the scene, two of the other semi-trailer trucks could be seen burning alongside the New Jersey couple's car. Emergency fire crews rushed to the scene and were seen trying to put out the flames on the highway, though proved quite late to save either Schurtz or Kearney.
Reports say the crash, which occurred at around 2:38 p.m. was the second in the area within the span of eight minutes and resulted in authorities shutting down the westbound section of the highway for 12 hours. The eastbound lane was closed until the next day as firefighters toiled to put the fire out.
NBC New York reported that Schurtz was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and grew up in Fanwood, New Jersey. The 35-year-old had worked as the Head of Platform Partnerships for Oracle Data Cloud in New York City.
Kearney's aunt, Mary Kay Heinle, paid tribute to the couple in a Facebook post, writing, "Our lives changed tragically last Thursday. Our nephew Joseph Kearney and his beautiful fiancé Kate Schurtz were killed in an automobile accident on their way home for their wedding to be held that day. Our memories will help carry us through. They were truly the brightest shining lights snuffed out way too soon."
A classmate of Schurtz also posted her condolences on Facebook and wrote, "I went to Notre Dame with Kate Schurtz. She was and is a beautiful soul who helped our program in amazing ways. Although we did not stay in touch, she was such a positive impact and I only have great memories with her. Never forget just how fragile life is. Her family was to be celebrating her wedding, not her and her fiancé’s deaths this weekend."
A visitation will be held at Immaculate Heart of Mary R.C. Church, 1571 Martine Avenue in Scotch Plains, New Jersey on Monday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. after which a mass will be held at 11 a.m.