Victim of fiery crash IDd
SHAMOKIN - The county coroner used an upper dental plate, jewelry and fragments of tattoos to help identify one of the two victims of a fiery pickup truck crash that occurred Aug. 26 on a rural road in Rush Township about five miles west of Elysburg.
James Kelley on Tuesday confirmed James L. Connelly, 46, of Derr Road, Danville RR, as one of the victims.
Connelly's identity was established by pre- and post-death comparisons and descriptions of the dental plate, tattoos and jewelry. His cause of death was attributed to "carbon-monoxide poisoning with fourth-degree burns, due to conflagration, due to a motor-vehicle accident." The manner of death was "accident," Kelley ruled.
Connelly was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:30 a.m. by Kelley.
The identity of the second occupant, a male, has not yet been determined. In order to confirm a 100-percent identity of the second victim, Kelley obtained blood and deep-tissue samples for comparative DNA testing. The testing is being performed at the Pennsylvania State Police Laboratory in Greensburg. The results may be available in eight weeks.
At this time, it has not been determined which individual was operating the vehicle at the time of the crash. The investigation continues by Cpl. George Ritchey from state police at Stonington, Kelley and James R. Gotlob, chief deputy coroner.
Ritchey had previously reported a 1991 Dodge Ram 2500 was traveling east on Rushtown Road shortly before 11 a.m. when the driver lost control while rounding a left curve. The truck went off the road and struck an embankment and a tree.
The pickup rolled over after impact, came to rest on its roof and caught on fire.
Firefighters arrived within five minutes of the initial dispatch and were able to extinguish the fire quickly, but it's not known how long the truck may have been burning, Elysburg Fire Department Chief Dennis Kroh said at the scene that day.