PAXINOS - James E. Leese, 22, of Elysburg, was pronounced dead in the emergency room at Shamokin Area Community Hospital (SACH) and another man was transported to an area hospital after a violent head-on collision on Route 61, directly in front of the Superior Plus Energy Services, next to Sunoco gas station, at 3:07 p.m. Friday.

Northumberland County Coroner James F. Kelley attributed Leese's death to "multiple blunt force trauma."

Witnesses at the scene said Leese was driving a blue Subaru at a high rate of speed on Route 61, attempting to pass another vehicle when it struck a gray van head on.

"It just happened so quick," said Randy Friday, of Shamokin, who witnessed the collision. "I saw the blue car flying then just a big pile of metal. Wow."

Both drivers were trapped in their mangled vehicles. It took firefighters 25 minutes to cut off the roof and disassemble the blue Subaru to get to Leese. Emergency personnel immediately performed CPR on Leese and continued to do so until he was loaded into a waiting ambulance.

The other driver, who was not identified by state police at Stonington Friday, was conscious when he was pulled from the van and placed in a Life Flight helicopter. His condition was not available at press time.

Route 61 was closed for an hour and two Life Flight helicopters landed at the scene.