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SOMERSET , Pa. – A Westmoreland County man’s Ford pickup truck was traveling at a high rate of speed – and in the wrong direction – moments before a crash with a box truck that killed the drivers of both vehicles on Friday night on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, state police said Sunday.

Dustin Brant, 27, of Latrobe, the driver of the pickup truck, died at the scene of the crash in Jefferson Township, Somerset County, according to the Somerset County Coroner’s Office.

The driver of the box truck, a Reading-area man heading west on the toll road, was flown to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown for treatment, but he died at the hospital of multiple blunt-force injuries to his upper torso, Cambria County Coroner Jeffrey Lees said.

State Trooper Marnie Johns said it’s not clear how – or why – Brant was traveling the wrong way on the limited-access highway.

But an investigation indicated that his Ford F-250 may have been traveling nearly 100 mph when it struck the box truck “almost head-on.” The crash scene resembled a widespread “explosion,” the trooper said.

She said Brant’s pickup truck traveled another one-tenth of a mile after the impact, hitting a median and crossing three lanes of travel twice before finally coming to a stop.

Johns said that troopers are awaiting autopsy results and a toxicology report to complete their investigation, which will likely be ongoing for several weeks.

Somerset County Deputy Coroner Lexi Lichty said an autopsy was planned for Brant to help determine his cause and manner of death.

Lees said he was reaching out to the Reading-area driver’s family and planned to release his name Monday.

David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @TDDavidHurst and Instagram @TDDavidHurst.

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