Crash shuts part of East College Avenue; 1 taken to hospital

crosenblum@centredaily.comFebruary 21, 2014 

— A two-car accident Friday night led to police closing a stretch of East College Avenue for more than an hour.

The accident occurred at about 8:45 p.m. when the driver of an eastbound Saturn station wagon tried to pass another vehicle and struck an oncoming Chevrolet pickup, according to the truck’s driver, Rachel Packer.

Packer said she and her husband, Scott, were coming from Pleasant Gap to go shopping. Between the entrance to Rockview state prison and Transfer Road, she said, she saw the headlights of a vehicle in the opposite lane bearing down on a slower-moving vehicle from behind.

But instead of slowing down, the approaching car suddenly swung out into her path, Packer said.

At the last second, she said, she swerved to the right. The Saturn hit her 2003 pickup on the back of the driver’s side, spinning it around at least once, she said.

“I was just glad I saw him enough to swerve,” Rachel Packer said. “Otherwise he would have hit me head-on.”

Neither Packer nor her husband was injured. A Centre LifeLink ambulance took the Saturn’s driver to the hospital. The driver’s condition was not available.

State College police closed East College Avenue from Shiloh Road to near the prison while police and firefighters cleared the scene. Police did not provide immediate information other than to say there were no major injuries.

Pieces of the Saturn, which came to rest, severely damaged, against a guardrail, littered the roadway. The pickup, with a damaged transmission and rear wheel, ended up in the middle of the road and had to be towed.

Rachel Packer said her husband, the ambulance captain for the Pleasant Gap Fire Company, got out of their pickup after the accident while she remained in the vehicle. He walked down to the Saturn, about 100 yards away, to check on the driver, then called in the accident, she said.

“We’re very lucky,” she said.

Standing next to her disabled pickup, Packer said she still felt shaken.

“I’m sure my palms will be bruised from gripping the steering wheel,” she said.

Chris Rosenblum can be reached at 231-4620. Follow him on Twitter @CRosenblumNews.

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