Man, 21, critical from Friday morning crash
THARPTOWN — A 21-year-old Coal Township man is in critical condition after being ejected from his car that went out of control along Route 61, crossed the concrete median, struck a snow bank and landed on its roof.
Two male passengers also were injured in the 7:23 a.m. crash, which occurred between Hospital Road and the north end of Tharptown and shut down a section of the busy highway for several hours.
Coal Township Deputy Police Chief Chris Williams reported Christopher Charowsky, of 1500 Pulaski Ave., was listed in critical condition at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, where he was flown by Life Flight helicopter after initially being treated at the scene and transported to Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital (G-SACH).
Police said Charowsky was ejected onto the highway during the crash and suffered serious head injuries.
David Williams, 20, of 1020 W. Pine St., Coal Township, a back-seat passenger, reportedly suffered a leg injury and was transported by AREA Services Ambulance to Geisinger, where he underwent emergency room treatment before being admitted. A hospital spokeswoman did not know Williams’ condition late Friday afternoon.
Matthew Schaeffer, 20, of 12 S. Franklin St., Shamokin, a front-seat passenger, suffered a shoulder injury and lump on his head and was taken by AREA Services Ambulance to G-SACH, where he was treated and released.
Police reported Charowsky was driving a white 2002 Subaru north when he lost control of the car while changing from the right lane to the left lane at a slight right curve in the highway. Police said the auto went into a slide across the center divider into the southbound lanes and crashed into a snow bank on the west side of the road, causing it to flip and land on its roof.
Schaeffer told police he was wearing a seat belt. Police said it is unknown if Charowsky and Williams were fastened in seat belts.
Police did not estimate how fast Charowsky was driving and said they weren’t certain if speed was the primary cause of the accident.
A large puddle of blood was spotted approximately 10 yards from where the vehicle came to rest. Other debris from the crash, including an empty doughnut box, was strewn about the highway.
Accident reconstructionist and Coal Township Patrolman Terry Ketchem remained at the scene from 7:30 a.m. until 12:15 p.m. and is assisting Williams with the investigation.
The car, which sustained extensive damage, including smashed windows, blown out tires and mangled metal, was towed by Anthracite Towing after Ketchem completed his work.
After the crash, an estimated 30-yard section of the southbound lanes was covered with ice that is believed to have formed from condensation from emergency vehicles and fluids.
No charges have been filed.
Route 61 was initially closed between the Cameron Bridge at Shamokin and Route 2020 (Mountain Road) in Ralpho Township as a result of the accident. Southbound traffic was detoured onto Mountain Road and Route 54, while northbound traffic was re-routed onto Routes 225 and 890.
Traffic control was provided by Coal Township firefighters, police and PennDOT employees.
The highway was reopened in both directions at about 12:15 p.m., according to a media advisory issued by Northumberland County 911 Center and PennDOT.
Williams also was assisted by Coal Township Chief of Police William Carpenter, Shamokin Cpl. Jarrod Scandle and Patrolman Raymond Siko II, Chief Stuart Appel and Cpl. Bryon Chowka of Ralpho Township police, Coal Township Fire Chief Russ Feese, assistant fire chief Michael Timco, members of Union and Maine fire companies, Coal Township Rescue Squad, Shamokin fire police, PennDOT employees and Northumberland County Emergency Management Agency Director Steve Jeffery.