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One dead in Route 309 crash

  • ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS This tractor trailer crashed head-on into a pickup truck, killing its driver, in Wednesday night's accident.
    ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS This tractor trailer crashed head-on into a pickup truck, killing its driver, in Wednesday night's accident.
Published August 25. 2011 05:02PM

Road debris might have been the cause of a fatal three-vehicle accident involving a tractor trailer, pickup truck and a sedan in West Penn last night.

At around 10 p.m. West Penn Police, firefighters and emergency crews were called to SR309, in front of Petritsch Lawns Garden Center in West Penn, after an employee at the nearby Blondie's Restaurant called 911 to report to a multicar collision.

When responders arrived, they found a maroon Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck smashed against a tree with a tractor trailer, of Risinger Brothers Transfer Inc. of Morton, Illinois, smashed into it. They also discovered a maroon Chevrolet Impala smashed into the side of the tractor trailer.

The driver of the pickup truck was killed. A driver and passenger in the tractor trailer escaped serious injury. A male driver and female passenger in the Impala sustained unknown injuries.

A PENNStar 5 helicopter landed at the Sovereign Bank lot in Snyders to transport an elderly woman to the St. Luke's Hospital, Fountain Hill. Witnesses stated they saw sparks under the tractor trailer's tires prior to the trailer swerving into the oncoming northbound lane and smashing head-on into the pickup truck.

A few minutes after the head-on collision, a maroon Chevrolet Impala, driving northbound on SR309, collided into the side of the tractor trailer, which was stretched across SR309.

Responding were West Penn Police, West Penn Fire Company, state police, Penn Mahoning Ambulance, Carbon Ambulance, Lehighton Ambulance and New Ringgold Ambulance.

West Penn Police Chief Brian Johnson pointed out a number of heavy rectangular batteries located on and off the road. Although this might have been the initial cause of the accident, no definite determination has been made yet.

The names of the victims and their conditions were unavailable as of press time today. West Penn Police Officer Jason Lorah is the investigating officer.

Anyone with information about the accident or road debris can call the West Penn Police Department at (570) 386-1100.

West Penn fire police closed SR309 and detoured traffic around the area for multiple hours while a state police reconstruction team from Reading investigated the accident.

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