One dead, two injured in Route 61 crash


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FOUNTAIN SPRING -- A 25-year-old Ashland man died when the car he was a passenger in struck a mail delivery van and then a parked pickup truck and a house on Route 61, Fountain Street, in Butler Township around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Schuylkill County Deputy Coroner Scott P. Clews said he pronounced Sean Harris dead at 1:03 p.m. at the scene of the crash.

Clews said a virtual autopsy on the man will be performed Wednesday night and a full autopsy scheduled for Thursday at Lehigh Valley Hospital near Allentown.

Butler Township Police are investigating the crash.

Personnel at the scene identified the driver of the car as Jack Harris, also of Ashland. Harris was taken to a Pottsville hospital for treatment of non life-threatening injuries.

A woman delivering mail for the United States Postal Service whose vehicle was struck by the Harris car was taken to Shamokin Hospital for observation.

Ronald Wolfe of Ashland was driving a pickup truck south on Route 61 when he said the Harris vehicle passed him in a legal passing zone.

As the road merged back into one lane, Wolfe said the Harris car was in front of him when the driver veered to the left over the center line and then back into the proper lane. The car then veered to the left again crossing the northbound lane and hitting the mail delivery van causing it to spin around and continue south along the northbound berm of the road.

The car continued until it struck a pickup truck owned by James Neumeister of Fountain Springs that was parked at his home.

Neumeister said that he was chopping wood out in front of his home along with a friend, Draven Prentize-Crist, when the crash happened.

The man said he told the younger Prentize-Crist to please check his mailbox to the south of his home and that after the young man walked away the Harris car came crashing into his property.

“He would have been killed if I didn’t ask him to check the mail,” Neumeister said.

The man also said he had his back toward the north and didn’t see the car coming toward him.

“I was cutting wood when I felt it brush against the back of my legs,” he said.

After crashing under a front roof of the Neumeister home the Harris car came to a stop facing north between stacked firewood and the home.

Assisting at the scene was Schuylkill County 1st Assistant Coroner Dr. Joseph Weber, deputy coroner Andrew Sczcyglak of Shenandoah, Ashland EMS, Shenandoah ALS, firefighters from Ashland, Fountain Springs and Frackville and Frackville Police.

A portion of Route 61 was closed for several hours while police investigated the crash.


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