By Wayne Laepple
SELINSGROVE — A truck driver from Northumberland was killed in a multi-vehicle accident on Routes 11-15 in Selinsgrove Friday afternoon.
Rodney E. Swineford, 43, of 272 Stone School Road, died instantly when his tractor-trailer smashed into the rear of another rig stopped in front of his at 1:57 p.m., Selinsgrove police said.
Mr. Swineford’s rig was owned by John F. Moyer Trucking Co. of Sunbury and loaded with paving blocks.
Bruce Hummel, Snyder County coroner, pronounced Mr. Swineford dead at the scene at 3:35 p.m. Cause of death was listed as multiple trauma.
Earl Roberson, 49, of Rochester, N.Y., was the driver of the tractor-trailer struck by Mr. Swineford’s rig. Mr. Roberson was hauling mail to New York and was uninjured, police said.
The force of the crash propelled the mail rig into the rear of a Ford Ranger pickup driven by Lamar Fetter, 54, of Elizabethtown. Riding with Mr. Fetter was Steve Keller, 55, also of Elizabethtown. Both men suffered minor injuries, police said.
The impact forced the Ranger into the median, and the mail truck then struck a second vehicle, a Toyota Highlander sport utility vehicle, driven by Angel Kit Ong Tom, 58. Sheuk Ming Tom, 63, was a passenger in that vehicle. The Frederick, Md., residents were uninjured, police said.
The mail truck then ripped through the guard rail and went down an embankment.
The accident forced the closure of the northbound lanes of Routes 11-15 between Route 35 and the north end of the Selinsgrove bypass while the victim was extricated from the crushed cab of his truck and police investigated the accident.
Crews worked late into the night clearing the wreckage, and the road was reopened to traffic at 4:30 a.m. Saturday.
All northbound traffic was detoured off the highway to the Route 35 exit at the south end of Selinsgrove, then north on Market Street through the borough and back onto Routes 11-15, creating a miles-long traffic jam.
Heavy Friday afternoon and evening traffic was reported to be backed up as far south as Chapman Hollow Road, about 10 miles south of the accident scene.
State police from Selinsgrove, Dauntless Hook & Ladder fire and ambulance, Hummels Wharf Fire Department, Sunbury paramedics, EMTS ambulance, the state Department of Transportation, Keller’s Towing and Michael Sholley and Snyder County district attorney assisted Selinsgrove police at the scene.