Vehicle lands in Shamokin yard, driver flees scene in Rt. 61 incident
SHAMOKIN - Anyone driving past an accident scene on Route 61 Sunday near the entrance to Shamokin probably wondered where the vehicle was.
All they had to do was look down an eight-foot drop, in the back yard of a home on Commerce Street, to find the overturned Chrysler PT Cruiser, but there was no driver to be found.
Dale Hart Jr., 30, of 1255 Pulaski Ave., Coal Township, later turned himself in to police after fleeing the scene of the 6:15 p.m. crash when the PT Cruiser he was driving left the roadway and flew into the backyard of a home at 715 Commerce Street, occupied by Victoria Pappas and Robert Alan Kubeck.
"The accident took out a back porch overhang on the home, before landing in the yard on its roof," Shamokin City Police Cpl. Jarrod Scandle said. "It is extremely lucky that there weren't any serious injuries."
In an interview with police, Hart said he was driving on Route 61 coming into Shamokin after visiting his grandmother in Kulpmont.
The driver told police he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed the vehicle, then climbed out of the driver's window and left the scene before police arrived.
He later told the officers the reason he ran was because he was driving with a suspended license.
Once away from the scene, Hart went to his mother's home on Sunbury Street, got a shower and then began walking the streets.
"It was his uncle and mother who later found him and brought him to the station," Scandle said.
The corporal said that Hart complained of knee pain, but refused medical treatment at the station.
The wrecked vehicle is registered to Samantha Bell, with a last known address of 406 S. Market St. Bell is currently incarcerated at Northumberland County Prison, but Scandle could not say on what charges.
Scandle said Hart will be charged with a number of traffic violations, including driving with a suspended license, careless driving, accidents involving attended property or vehicles, failure to give immediate notice of the accident to police and fleeing the scene of an accident.
Members of Shamokin Rescue 62 and the Liberty Fire Company responded to the scene, and Shamokin Fire Police closed off a section of Route 61 to traffic to allow a tow crane from Dave's Auto Body to lift the vehicle from the yard back onto Route 61, and then remove it from the scene. The road was opened back up at 7:23 p.m.