CATAWISSA RD - A visit to Knoebels Amusement Resort to celebrate the 18th birthday of his girlfriend ended in an unhappy incident Friday night when a car in which they were riding malfunctioned and flipped over in a rocky ravine on Route 487 near Southern Columbia Area High School.

Locust Township police identified the driver of the car in the 6 p.m. accident as Jonel Santana, 19, of Hazleton, who said the steering mechanism malfunctioned and the brakes failed to work properly shortly before the car went off the right side of the two-lane road and over a slight embankment. Police said the front wheel apparently hit a large rock on the embankment, causing the car to flip over on its roof into a drainage ditch known as a swail. The ditch was filled with large rock to control water runoff from the highway in periods of heavy rain.

Both Santana and his passenger, Sierra Treichler, 18, of White Haven, were not injured but were shaken up. Santana said the couple had left Knoebels less than 20 minutes earlier after the spending the day there in observance of Sierra's birthday Thursday. They apparently exited from the overturned car through the shattered windshield area.

"It was a sad end to a perfect day," the young man said while standing with Sierra along the side of the road watching a tow truck from Tire Ranch removing the wrecked vehicle.

Emergency crews from Elysburg and Catawissa responded to the accident scene after receiving pages from both Northumberland and Columbia County communications centers. EMTs from Elysburg Ambulance checked out the couple at the scene and reported there were no serious injuries.

The northbound traffic lane was closed in the aftermath of the accident. Traffic on both lanes, many vehicles of which were heading home from Kneoebels, was delayed while the wrecked car was removed.