The victims were Alicia Minnich, 20, of Norristown, Kelly Swider, 20 of Collegeville, and Steven Billman, 44, of Annville, Pa. Michael Reppa, 20, of Audubon, Pa. was severly injured.
According to Pennsylvania State Police of the Embreeville Station, Mark Smith, 46, of Fogelsville was traveling east on Route 23 in a 2001 model Oldsmobile. Steven Billman was traveling west on Route 23 in a 2002 Saturn. Michael Reppa with Minnich and Swider as passengers in his 1995 Hyundai was traveling east on Route 23. Reppa's vehicle came up on Smith's vehicle and passed Smith.
Passing Smith, Reppa was then travelling east in Route 23's westbound lane. He then struck Billman traveling westbound in his Saturn almost head-on. Reppa's vehicle traveled off the south side of Route 23 and struck a fence.
The Hyundai came to a rest at that point. Billman's Saturn was pushed backward by the impact with Reppa's vehicle and came to a rest in the middle of Route 23.
Smith, traveling east in his Oldsmobile, struck the Saturn a glancing blow in passing.
The accident occurred in front of the home of Dr. Todd Addis, VDM, a retired veterinarian. Dr. Addis was among the first to arrive at the crash scene.
"I heard the crash, looked up, and saw a car burning," said Dr. Addis. He immediately contacted 911 on a portable telephone as he made his way to the crash scene.
"My immediate concern was the car that had caught fire," he said. "I straddled the fire that had begun around the car to reach the driver whose head was slumped down over his seat belt. I instantly felt that person was dead."
He said he then went to the other vehicle that had veered off the road, down an embankment, and had become lodged in a post and fence. "Smoke was coming up from the front of that car," said Dr. Addis.
By the time he had left the first car to attend to the car in the fence, the first car had burst into flames and had sent a fire ball into the sky.
As Dr. Addis ran back to his home to get a chain saw in attempt to dislodge the car from the post and fence, he said that military personnel who were traveling on Route 23 came rushing forward and were able to free the vehicle from the fence.
"I knew it was horrendous without even looking," said Dr. Addis of his first reaction. "There were no wheels screeching, just one humungous crash."
His two horses were grazing in a field that parallels the crash site when the accident occurred. "My horses ran to the other end of the field shivering and shaking for three or four hours," said Dr. Addis.
Elverson Fire Company, Elverson Ambulance, and medics from Phoenixville Hospital responded. The injured were transported by Elverson Ambulance and two Penn Star helicopters to Brandywine Hospital in Caln and the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.