The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

June 13, 2013

19-year-old Shikellamy graduate dies in Route 147 crash

By Evamarie Socha
The Daily Item

— NORTHUMBERLAND — A 2012 Shikellamy High School graduate was killed Wednesday when his pickup truck collided head-on with a tractor-trailer on Route 147 in Point Township.

Ryan Showers, 19, of Northumberland, was pronounced dead at the scene by Northumberland County Coroner James Kelley about an hour after the 11:30 a.m. accident that closed part of Route 147 for about five hours.

Showers died as a result of “multiple blunt-force trauma,” Kelley said.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

Showers was traveling south on Route 147 when his green 1997 Ford F150 pickup went across the center turn lane and into the path of a northbound tractor-trailer, according to Point Township police.

The two vehicles crashed in the northbound lane.

Showers’ truck stopped in the middle of the road. The tractor-trailer left Route 147 and crashed into the single-family home of Brandon Hommel, 244 Susquehanna Trail, taking off the front porch in the process. No one was in the Hommel home at the time.

Emergency personnel checked the Hommel home and said there was no damage other than to the porch, Van Kirk said.

The trailer driver, who declined to be identified at the scene and whom police did not identify later, was not hurt.

Both vehicles sustained heavy damage to their front ends, and pieces of both were scattered along the highway.

“It sounded like a train hit something,” said one man at the scene, who declined to give his name.

Residents along the stretch of Route 147 said they came to the site after hearing a very loud crash followed by sirens that stopped suddenly near their neighborhood.

Several witnesses told police both vehicles were traveling at the speed limit, 45 mph at Route 147 between 13th and 14th streets, where the accident occurred, police said. The road is one lane in both directions with a center turn lane.

Large, long skid marks on the highway indicate the tractor-trailer driver applied “heavy braking action” before impact to try to avoid the pickup, police said.

“There was no indication of corrective” or evasive action on Showers’ part, Point Township police Chief Josh Van Kirk said at the scene.

Showers was extricated from his truck. He was not wearing a seat belt, but the truck’s multiple airbags deployed, Van Kirk said.

The front engine compartment of the tractor-trailer was smashed, and first responders worked for several hours to contain diesel fuel spilling from the vehicle.

The accident closed Route 147 between Ninth and 16th streets for four to five hours while first responders cleared the scene.

Showers graduated in 2012 from Shikellamy High, according to information on his Facebook page. He also had been employed at Liberty Splashland water park in Northumberland last year, where he worked the concession stand.

“To me, he seemed like a happpy-go-lucky kind of guy,” said Greg Carl, a Northumberland Borough Councilman who directs the park. “The time that I knew him, it seemed like not much bothered him.”

Northumberland borough police assisted Point Township officers at the scene. First responders were Point Township Fire Co., Upper Augusta Volunteer Fire Company, Tuckahoe Volunteer Fire Company, Americus Ambulance and Area Ambulance.

Northumberland County Department of Public Safety and Northridge Group Environmental Response Specialists were on the scene to contain diesel fuel that spilled from the tractor-trailer.

Assisting Kelley at the scene were Chief Deputy Coroner James. Gotlob and Deputy Coroner Barry J. Leisenring.