PHILADELPHIA - Three people have died, including two Pennsylvania state police troopers, following a crash on I-95 in Philadelphia Monday morning.
The crash happened around 12:40 a.m. in the southbound lanes near the Broad Street exit in South Philadelphia.
The troopers have been identified by state police as Martin F. Mack III, 33, and Branden T. Sisca, 29. The third victim involved in the crash was identified Tuesday as Reyes Rivera Oliveras, a 28-year-old man from Allentown.
Trooper Martin Mack III (L) and Trooper Branden Sisca (R) (Pennsylvania State Police)
State police say Troopers Mack and Sisca were called to assist a man who had been walking on I-95 southbound near the stadium area.
The troopers made contact with the man, who was walking in the left-hand lane of I-95. As the troopers attempted to put the man into custody and walk him back to their vehicle, a female driver in an SUV struck all three men and their patrol car at a high rate of speed.
Authorities say the impact was so great that it sent the troopers into the northbound lanes of I-95. The striking vehicle eventually came to a rest in the right shoulder after it struck the troopers, civilian, police SUV and left-hand barrier. The driver remained on the scene.
Dispatch called for backup when Troopers Mack and Sisca did not respond on their radios. Backup arrived as witnesses attempted CPR on the troopers. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
A law enforcement source tells FOX 29's Steve Keeley that state police had conducted a traffic stop involving the striking vehicle shortly before the crash. They say that stop was cut short because troopers were responding to reports of pedestrian walking on I-95.
The troopers' SUV sustained heavy damage to the driver's side, with both the front and rear door having been ripped from their hinges. The striking vehicle sustained heavy front-end damage.
State police said during a late-morning press conference that they are conducting an active investigation that is 'DUI-related.' Law enforcement sources told FOX 29 that a 21-year-old driver had a blood alcohol content more than twice the legal limit.
Separate police processions led both of the fallen officers from the scene to the medical examiner's office around 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. Monday morning.
Traffic in both the north and southbound lanes of I-95 was shut down in both directions between Broad Street and the Walt Whitman Bridge. The highway reopened in both directions around 9 a.m.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf reacted to the crash in a statement posted to Twitter Monday morning.
"Frances and I are deeply saddened by the loss of these two troopers and the individual they were assisting. We're praying for their loved ones. This tragedy is a reminder that our law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to protect us and our communities," Wolf wrote.
Officials say Trooper Mack joined the force in 2014 while Sisca only recently graduated from the academy and had enlisted in February of 2021. Sisca was also a Fire Chief of Trappe Fire Company in Montgomery County.
"Our department is heartbroken with the tragedy that occurred early this morning in Philadelphia," said Colonel Robert Evanchick. "We ask our fellow Pennsylvanians to keep the families of our troopers and the pedestrian in their thoughts. This is an extremely difficult time."
Both Mack and Sisca were organ donors, and donated organs to the Gift of Life Program, according to a release from the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association.
"Gift of Life Donor Program salutes Pennsylvania State Troopers Martin F. Mack and Branden T. Sisca, who lost their lives in service to others. Heroes in life and death, both were registered organ and tissue donors. Their legacies of helping others lives on through donation," the organization said in a statement.