A Rush Township man died when his pickup truck left SR209 in Schuylkill Township about 3:39 p.m. yesterday and crashed into a utility pole. The crash was a quarter-mile east of the Tuscarora exit.

State police at Frackville identified the victim as James P. Weeks, 45, of Quakake. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Troopers said Weeks was southbound when his 1987 Ford F150 truck went off the right side of the road. The truck traveled southwest down a grass embankment where the undercarriage struck and destroyed the top of a concrete sewer manhole. Also in the truck, was a brown Lab dog, which was later taken care of by firefighters and then by a dog warden with the Department of Agriculture.

The truck continued traveling down the embankment about 150 feet when the front end impacted into the pole. Weeks was ejected from the passenger side of the truck. The truck came to rest facing southeast near the pole.

Schuylkill County deputy coroner Scott Clews pronounced Weeks dead.

Reportedly, an ambulance from Regional Medical EMS and Critical Care out of Lehighton was behind Weeks and observed the truck leaving the road and crashing. Personnel with the ambulance immediately began rendering medical aid to Weeks.

Responding were Tuscarora, MaryD and Tamaqua fire companies, Tamaqua Rescue Squad. Ambulances responding were Ryan Township, Tamaqua and Lehighton.

Tamaqua and Tuscarora closed the westbound lane and detoured traffic around the area for the duration. Members of the Tamaqua volunteers provided cold refreshments to all the police and emergency responders on scene for a couple hours.

Troopers said the investigation into the crash is continuing.