Four of the women had been in a minivan going down Interstate 81 North on Tuesday night when the driver hit the median, Timothy Rowland, the county coroner for Lackawanna, told WNEP.
The four passengers, as well as a fifth person who had been in a separate car, exited their vehicles. All five were then hit by a tractor-trailer.
The five victims, who have not been publicly identified yet, were from New York and are believed to all have been members of the same family.
After the deadly crash, the section of the highway where it occurred was closed for several hours. State police are now investigating the incident.
Janet Pohoda, who drove down the same stretch of highway hours later, told WNEP the road had been dangerously slippery from recent snowfall. “I wish everybody would just stay safe out there. You know it’s bad, especially if the coroners are there right now. My heart goes out to them and their family,” she said.
Pohoda urged drivers to exercise caution when driving in unsafe conditions. “It’s sad, but I would tell them to get off the road for tonight until the roads are in better condition, you know, cleared up more,” she said.
Rowland did not immediately respond to a request for comment.