Three people, including two Pennsylvania state troopers, died after being hit by a car early Monday morning on I-95 near the stadiums in South Philadelphia.
Detectives are looking into whether the driver, a woman whose name has not been released, was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash, said state police Capt. James Kemm, head of the department’s Philadelphia-based troop.
Troopers Martin F. Mack III, 33, and Branden T. Sisca, 29, were sent to the area, near mile marker 18 on the southbound side, at around 12:45 a.m. for a report of a man walking on the interstate.
As they were taking the man to their cruiser, a car traveling at a high rate of speed veered in between the left lane and the center barricade in an unsuccessful attempt to pass the group, authorities said.
“The impact was so great that it threw the troopers over into northbound lanes of Interstate 95,” Keem said.
When backup arrived, witnesses were trying to perform CPR on those hit by the vehicle, but all three died at the scene, investigators said. The civilian victim has not been identified.
State police said the driver remained at the scene.
“This is a very sad day for Pennsylvania,” Gov. Tom Wolf said. “It’s a reminder for the state troopers, what a heroic thing that they do for us each and every day.”
“They lay their lives on the line for all of us every day,” he added. “For all three, it’s a reminder of how precious and fragile life really is.”
Moments before Wolf and police leaders spoke at a news conference Monday morning outside the Troop K station on Belmont Avenue in West Philadelphia, troopers lowered the Pennsylvania flag to half-staff.
Authorities refused to answer questions about the crash, saying the investigation is in its early stages.
District Attorney Larry Krasner, at a separate press briefing, commented only that the driver is “potentially facing extremely serious consequences.”
Sisca, a West Chester University alumnus who was passionate about his role as a volunteer chief for the Trappe Fire Company in Montgomery County, recently graduated from the state police academy after enlisting in February 2021.
“Right now we ask that you give his family and the family at Trappe Fire Company time to process the loss of an incredible person,” the company wrote on its website. “Keep all of them in your thoughts and prayers.”
Mack enlisted as a state trooper eight years ago, and he has spent his entire career at Troop K. He lived in Bristol, Bucks County, and was involved in St. Mark Catholic Parish, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick said on Facebook.
“They both had bright careers ahead of them, and it saddens me to know how their lives were senselessly cut short,” state police Commissioner Robert Evanchick said.
Mack and Sisca were registered as organ donors, and their organs were donated to the Gift of Life Program, according to the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association, which represents state officers.