The two drivers involved in a head-on crash in Tamaqua Saturday night were admitted to Lehigh Valley area hospitals in critical condition.

Phillip Michael "Mike" Ryan, 23, of Hazle St., Tamaqua, a former standout athlete at Marian High School, was admitted to the trauma unit of the Lehigh Valley Hospital, Salisbury Township.

The other driver, Gary Boettger, 28, of E. Elm St., Tamaqua, remains in the intensive care unit of St. Luke's Hospital, Fountain Hill. Both were flown to the hospitals by medical helicopter. Attempts to get updated conditions on the two this morning from the respective hospitals were unsuccessful.

A passenger with Ryan, Brad Petritsch, 23, of Mahanoy City, was treated and released at St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital, Coaldale.

Tamaqua police are investigating and indicated speed was a factor in the crash.

A witness told officers that Ryan, operating a Nissan Altima, was northbound on SR309 at a high rate of speed when he attempted a left turn onto Taggartsville Road. Boettger, driving a Volkswagen Jetta, was pulling from the road to go south on SR309 when his vehicle was struck head-on by Ryan's.

The crash occurred about 11:45 p.m.

Police said the investigation into the crash is continuing and charges are possible.

Ryan was an offensive lineman for Marian High School and after graduation went to the University of Connecticut where he played offensive line. After graduation from college Ryan signed as an undrafted free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL. He was released on May 2 after failing a physical examination. At the time Ryan said he suffered a knee injury in preparing for the NFL draft.

Ryan was a two-time All Big East selection and a three-year starter for the Huskies.

A story and photos of the crash scene appeared on page 5 of Monday's TIMES NEWS.