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Two crashes probed on I-81 in Schuylkill

Published December 12. 2009 09:00AM

State police at Frackville reported investigating two crashes along Interstate 81 in Schuylkill County. Both crashes occurred on Tuesday, Dec. 8.

Troopers said about 4:55 a.m. Michael Williams, 37, of Pine Grove, and Ralph Burkhart, 42, of Sunbury, were both northbound in the right lane with Burkhart in front of Williams in Foster Township. At this point Williams fell asleep at the wheel of his 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan and ran into the back of Burkhart's 1995 Kenworth truck tractor towing a cargo trailer with 20 ton of scrap metal. Following impact the engine compartment of the Caravan caught fire.

Troopers said Williams was injured and taken to the Schuylkill Medical Center South, Pottsville, for treatment of a hand injury. Burkhart was not injured. Damages were heavy to the front of the Caravan and heavy to the cargo trailer. The right lane was closed for about two and a half hours.

The second crash occurred about 10:25 a.m. in Kline Township. Troopers said Amanda Elaine Chase, 23, of Claremont, N.H., was driving a 2005 Mazda 3 northbound when she lost control after becoming sleepy. The car hit rumble strips along the east berm that woke Chase up, troopers said. She then over-steered with the car going over both lanes onto the west berm and hitting an embankment. The car then spun counter-clockwise and came to rest on the passenger side.

Chase was injured and taken to Geisinger Medical Center, Wyoming, Luzerne County, for treatment of a laceration to the back of the head. She was cited for driving on roadways laned for traffic, troopers added.

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