Jeep floors shed wall
ARISTES - Dense fog on Big Mountain played a role in a Shenandoah man driving through a stop sign and crashing through the cement block wall of a maintenance shed at Zion Methodist Cemetery on Monday.
Yazeed Azar, 50, was alone in a 2005 Jeep Liberty while driving east from Wilburton on Midvalley Road when he apparently missed the stop sign in the fog shortly after 4 p.m. He crossed both lanes of Route 42 before reaching the berm.
A witness said his vehicle launched off an embankment, bounced off a cemetery road and again became airborne before crashing through the back of the maintenance shed.
"I ran down and said, 'Yo, are you OK?' Then I called 911," said Billy Evans, 19, of Ashland.
Evans was driving north on Route 42 through Aristes towards the Midvalley Road intersection when, "through the mist," he saw Azar's vehicle drive across the highway and off the roadway.
The impact sent cement blocks flying through the shed, but the vehicle stopped short of driving clear through the other side. Its front end came to rest inside the shed while the rear end remained outside.
Stored inside the shed were gasoline containers, a riding mower and other lawn care equipment.
Metal supports were put in place from the ground to the shed roof to stabilize the structure while emergency responders worked to extricate Azar. The Jaws of Life were used to cut off the vehicle's roof and tailgate. He was lifted from the vehicle and placed onto a litter before responders walked carefully through slick snow and slush on the cemetery grass to an awaiting AREA Services ambulance.
Azar was transported to Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, where was listed in serious condition at 9 p.m. Monday.
Azar was conscious immediately after the crash. Evans said Azar complained of back pain. Officer-in-Charge William Spickler, Conyngham Township Police, said the man also suffered head trauma.
While visibility was extremely low due to heavy fog, the roadways were mostly wet and not very slick.
Spickler said the cemetery's caretaker estimated damage to the shed at more than $10,000.
Monday's crash marked the third time a vehicle crashed into the shed in the past several years, he said.
Assisting at the scene were Aristes and Conyngham Township fire companies, Mount Carmel Area Rescue Squad, AREA Services and local fire police.