Shamokin biker critical after crash
WEIGH SCALES - A Shamokin man was thrown from his motorcycle and severely injured after being rear-ended by a Jeep near The Wayside Inn Sunday.
Cory L. Thompson, 29, was listed in critical condition at 10:30 p.m. at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, according to a nursing supervisor.
Ralpho Township police identified Thompson at the scene of the crash. The names of the Jeep's driver and occupants were withheld, following department policy on the identification of minors.
Thompson was riding a Harley-Davidson from Shamokin in the northbound left lane of Route 61 about 5:45 p.m. He had slowed as he approached the intersection with Bridge Street, the entrance to The Wayside, believed to be his destination. Patrolman Stephen Spade said Thompson was interacting with a driver in the right lane who had also slowed when a Jeep Cherokee rammed the motorcycle from behind. Thompson had passed the Jeep moments before.
Witnesses who were on the outdoor patio at the nearby restaurant said they heard the collision and saw the motorcycle skid 100 yards across the southbound lanes and onto the berm. It laid on its right side, the seat bent upward.
The 17-year-old Shamokin girl driving the Jeep slammed its brakes. Following the same path as the motorcycle, the Jeep left skid marks across the highway before stopping partially on the berm. It sustained minor damages to its front end near the driver-side headlight.
Thompson laid in the middle of the southbound lanes. Initial reports were that he was not breathing. People rushed from the restaurant to his aid, and to prevent southbound traffic from causing further injury. Shamokin Cpl. Jarrod Scandle and Patrolman Ray Siko III joined emergency responders and citizens, one of whom was identified as a nurse, in providing medical attention ahead of the arrival of paramedics.
Thompson was conscious as he was placed onto a gurney and loaded into the rear of an Elysburg Ambulance at 6 p.m. A Life Flight helicopter circled above minutes later but its pilot and personnel on the ground couldn't establish communication for a landing on the highway. The ambulance drove off about 6:07 p.m. to the Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital, about two miles south, where he was loaded onto the helicopter and flown to the Danville hospital.
Debris from both the Jeep and the Harley were scattered about the highway. A member of the Villains Shamokin Motorcycle Club - a nonprofit riding group - his vest had been removed and left behind on the roadway. Three close friends, also club members, arrived on scene. Two kneeled a few feet away from the vest, taking long pauses between words as they tried to process the scene.
Thompson is a member of the U.S. Army Pennsylvania National Guard, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 103rd Armor Regiment. He had served at least four tours in the Middle East, with missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.
There were two teenage passengers in the Jeep, both of them 17-year-old females from Coal Township. Neither they nor the driver were injured.
Spade said charges are pending investigation.
Both lanes of Route 61 were closed about 2 1/2 hours.
Assisting in the accident reconstruction were Ralpho Township Police Chief Stuart Appel, Coal Township Patrolman Terry Ketchem and state troopers from the Stonington station. Also responding were Coal Township Patrolman Matt Henrich, Mount Carmel Township Patrolman Kelly Campbell, members of Elysburg and Ralpho Township fire departments, Coal Township Fire Department and fire police and AREA Services Ambulance.