SHAMOKIN TOWNSHIP — Residents along a section of Route 61 near Stonington have expressed concern that accidents near their homes are the result of speeders.
Their unease was heightened Tuesday evening when state police at Stonington allege the operator of a Honda Civic was speeding when the vehicle went out of control near Manor Drive and struck a PennDOT sign and utility pole.
According to a witness who lives near the scene, the vehicle was traveling south between 70 and 75 mph when the driver lost control just beyond the crest of a hill at Joe’s Road, where 72-year-old George Kovaschetz was struck and killed by an SUV on May 8 while attempting to retrieve his mail.
In that incident, Trooper Christopher Kolosinsky stated that Kovaschetz had been on the southbound shoulder of the state highway and was struck by a northbound 1997 Jeep Liberty while attempting “to cross the highway in front of” the vehicle at about 1:36 p.m.
Kolosinsky has not released the driver’s name or whether charges were filed. A call to the trooper to seek the status of the investigation was not returned Wednesday.
Wayne Shinskie, a long-time resident of 3974 state Route 61, located between the scene of the fatal pedestrian accident and Tuesday’s crash, said there have been at least four other accidents that have occurred near his home. The speed limit in the area is 50 mph.
“They just fly over the hill,” he said, as he watched emergency personnel treat the occupants of Tuesday’s crash. “A lot of accidents occur because they don’t watch.”
Trooper Jordan Judson stated in a public information release report that a 17-year-old female from Montandon lost control of the Civic near Manor Drive at 8:13 p.m. The vehicle slid sideways as the passenger-side of the rear bumper struck a PennDOT sign. The operator was unable to correct the steering, the trooper added.
The vehicle crossed the northbound lane, then struck the utility pole before coming to a stop in the northbound lane with the front of the vehicle facing northeast.
Judson charged the driver with speeding, driving on roadways laned for traffic, careless driving, driving while operating privilege is suspended and operation of vehicle without inspection. A passenger, Tessa Berlew, 20, of Dallas, was charged for not wearing a seatbelt.
The driver suffered an apparent arm injury and was transported to a hospital. Berlew had a minor injury and was also transported. A 17-year-old male from Coal Township who was riding in a backseat was not injured.