Fox Investigates: Fiery I-476 Crash - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Fox Investigates: Fiery I-476 Crash


After weeks of looking into what caused a fiery Blue Route crash, police are going after a dump truck driver who was rescued from the flames.

Fox 29 Investigates' Jeff Cole has learned the driver never should have climbed behind the wheel.

The crash shut down busy Interstate 476 in Delaware County for three hours the week before Christmas.

It was 10:30 a.m. when the big dump truck hit the center guardrail. Flames engulfed the vehicle, and it was a traffic nightmare for motorists.

Truck driver Rebecca Schittler was pulled from the burning cab.

Now, she's once again feeling the heat.

"I remember having a pain in my head, and then I remember them pulling me out of the truck," Schittler told Fox 29 News.

Now, state police say she never should have been there.

"We found that she had controlled substances in her system at the time of the crash. So, that's an easy one for us. She's being charged with driving under the influence of a controlled substance," said state police Capt. David Young, of Troop K.

Young said traces of opiates and barbiturates were detected in Schittler's body. Along with DUI, she's charged with driving while suspended, reckless driving and other offenses.

"What are you talking about?" Schittler asked during an interview one day after the Dec. 17 crash.

She seemed unsure and then denied her license had been pulled.

"But you're not suspended?" asked Cole.

"No, I didn't know I was suspended," she answered.

"Well, they say …" Cole began.

Schittler interrupted, "If I was suspended I wouldn't have been driving that truck."

Police said her truck driver's license was taken a full two months prior to the accident. And yet she climbed into that lumbering dump truck anyway.

"Look at the people who risked their lives that day pulling her from a burning truck. She could have risked a lot of people, impacted a lot of families," Young said.

"You know what? I don't …" Schittler said.

"Rebecca, before you go …" Cole started.

"I don't want to talk about this anymore," she said, walking away from Cole and a Fox 29 camera.

In December, Schittler didn't want to talk about her driving history marred with other accidents or court records that show her pleading guilty and receiving probation for attempting to obtain drugs with a bogus prescription.

"OK, but let me tell you what your history is here," Cole said.

"You're not telling me nothing," Schittler said.

"Well, you don't – you must know," Cole replied.

Repeated calls to Schittler's cell phone went unanswered, and an attorney who claimed to represent her last month said he doesn't now.

Schittler will be summoned to court. If she doesn't show, state police say they'll go get her, Cole reported.

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