Police are investigating a motorcycle crash that took place Friday along Route 54, fatally injuring the operator.

Emergency responders were summoned by the Schuylkill Communications Center shortly after 6 p.m. to Lafayette Avenue near the west end of the Hauto Highway, where a Honda Gold Wing Aspencade apparently failed to negotiate a curve. The bike plowed through tall grass before eventually hitting trees on the side of the highway.

The force of the collision ejected the operator, who was found in the woods, critically injured, and rushed to the hospital.

According to investigating officer Sgt. Duane Frederick of Rush Township police, the operator passed away shortly after.

Witnesses who live nearby said the motorcycle was traveling east with a group of other bikers when, for unknown reasons, something beneath or on the motorcycle appeared to scrape the macadam roadway, causing sparks and leaving a mark on the highway.

Route 54 remained closed from Lafayette Avenue to an area near Ye Old Hauto Road.

Emergency units from Rush Township, Tamaqua, Nesquehoning and Lehighton responded.