It took about 30 minutes for rescue crews to free a man trapped in his car following a single-vehicle accident along SR54 in Nesquehoning yesterday.

Emergency crews were dispatched around 5:30 p.m. for a report of a vehicle accident with entrapment. When rescue crews arrived, they used hydraulic tools to extricate 22-year-old Brian Rivera of Coaldale, from his car, a blue 2004 Mazda 6.

Rush Township, assisting Nesquehoning, stated that Rivera was traveling east on SR54 Hauto Highway, near the Schuylkill/Carbon County line, when he apparently fell asleep at the wheel, crossed over the double yellow line into west bound lane and struck a large tree along the north side of SR54.

After being extricated, Rivera, a reservist with the United States Marine Corps and 2008 graduate of Panther Valley, was transported by ambulance to the Hometown Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, where a landing site was established for the PennSTAR medical transport. He was then airlifted to St Luke's Hospital in Bethlehem for serious injuries.

Rivera's condition was unknown as of press time today. He remained in the hospital as of this morning.

Responding in addition to Nesquehoning Police, state police and Rush Township Police were Hauto Fire Company, Nesquehoning Fire Company, New Columbus Fire Company, Jim Thorpe Fire Company and Hometown Fire Company.

Also responding were Tamaqua Rescue Squad, Nesquehoning Ambulance and Lehighton Ambulance. Hometown and Nesquehoning fire police volunteers closed the section of SR54 for the duration.