One dead, one injured in three-car crash in Potter Township

POTTER TOWNSHIP — One motorist died and another was injured tonight in a three-vehicle crash on U.S. Route 322, state police said.

It happened about 7 p.m. roughly one mile east of Tait Farm. Firefighters, police and the state Department Transportation closed the roadway in that area for about two hours, redirecting traffic onto state routes 45 and 144.

Some vehicles were stopped near the accident scene — in freezing temperatures — for well more than an hour.

The identity of the deceased driver was not immediately available. At the scene, state police Trooper Lucas Rankin said the driver, a woman, had been traveling west in an Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight.

For at least five miles before the wreck, witnesses told police, the woman's car had been moving erratically and crossing the center lines.

"It's obvious it's her fault" Rankin said. " ... The witnesses all said the same thing."He said the Oldsmobile had crossed into the eastbound lane and struck a Ford Ranger pickup truck head-on.

"He couldn't avoid it," Rankin said of the man driving the Ford."He tried everything."

Measurements at the scene showed that the Ford skidded 86 feet before the collision.

Its driver, identified as Michael B. Walker, 41, of Hamburg, N.Y., suffered what Lucas called severe injuries. He was taken by ambulance to Mount Nittany Medical Center.

His Ford, veering out of control, also collided with a Freightliner tractor-trailer driven by Wendell D. Featherlin, 60, of Carlisle, Lucas said.

Featherlin was not hurt. He could not avoid the wreck, according to a police report.

None of the vehicles was carrying any passengers, said Chad Packer, the Centre Hall fire chief.

Emergency responders at the scene included the Boalsburg and Centre Hall fire companies, the Penns Valley and Centre LifeLink ambulance services and state police at Rockview.

Adam Smeltz can be reached at 231-4631.