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Additional details released in fatal Route 322 crash

Police released additional details Wednesday about a deadly crash Jan. 20 between an automobile and a tractor-trailer on U.S. Route 322 between Park Avenue and College Avenue.
Police released additional details Wednesday about a deadly crash Jan. 20 between an automobile and a tractor-trailer on U.S. Route 322 between Park Avenue and College Avenue. Centre Daily Times, file

State College police released information Wednesday regarding the crash that claimed the life of a Lemont man and closed down a portion of U.S. Route 322 in College Township two weeks ago.

According to police accident investigators, Earl Smith, 89, of Lemont, was traveling west on the Mount Nittany Expressway with his wife Betty, 82, on Jan. 20 when he attempted to pull off the expressway in order to make a U-turn in a nearby PennDOT turnaround.

Smith pulled in front of a tractor-trailer driven by Petro Petryuk, 31, of Downers Grove, Ill., who struck Smith’s car on the driver’s side. The car spun around and ended up facing east.

Several witnesses corroborated the story, police said, saying they saw the car move left in front of the truck. The car was pushed a total of 118 feet from point of impact to its resting spot.

Route 322 was closed temporarily and Alpha Fire Company was called to extract Smith from the vehicle before he was flown via Life Flight to UPMC Altoona, police said. Blair County Coroner Paul Kearns confirmed Smith had died on Jan. 25.

No drugs or alcohol were found at the scene of the accident, police said. Petryuk will not be charged.

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