1 dead in city collision

Man in wheelchair dragged a half-block

A man was killed after his motorized wheelchair was struck and dragged by an SUV at the intersection of West Fourth and William streets at about 1:30 p.m., Saturday, police said.

“The driver subsequently stopped. He didn’t flee the scene,” said Officer Joshua Bell, city police. “Initially it sounds like (the driver) wasn’t aware — completely — of what had happened.”

Dragged half-a-block from the intersection, the man was declared dead later by emergency personnel. The black Nissan SUV veered into the Community Art Center’s drop-off lane before finally stopping.

“When emergency services arrived at the scene they attempted care here as they always do, but prior to them leaving the scene he was already declared deceased,” Bell said.

West Fourth Street was closed two and a half hours for the investigation. The Lycoming County coroners removed the body at 3:15 p.m., traffic was allowed to resume at 4 p.m. and the SUV was finally towed at 4:25 p.m.

“Pennsylvania State Police are assisting with the reconstruction and processing of the scene, as well as our agency and then we’re going to be continuing our investigation here in Williamsport,” said Bell.

The intersection’s traffic lights, pedestrian lights, as well as local business videotapes will be examined, he said.

The driver of the SUV was allowed to leave the scene.

“There’s so many pieces and questions right now that we kind of have to get some things answered,” said Bell.

For any potential charges, “we’re ultimately going to just take that to the district attorney’s office and let them make the determination,” he said.

The body will undergo an autopsy to determine the cause of death, and the victim’s name will be released by the coroner’s office once those close to the individual are notified, said Bell.

Jeremy Mohler, who works at Bullfrog Brewery, said that although he didn’t see the collision happen, he was witness to the aftermath.

“There were people out there crying, saying that they were his caregiver,” he said. “One of the servers said she recognized him. She’s pretty traumatized. She knows the guy really well. He comes in every Sunday for brunch.”

As the fire trucks and other emergency vehicles pulled in, they blocked off everything to obscure the public’s view, he said. A blanket was used to cover the body until it was taken by the coroner.

“His chair was almost under the front end (of the vehicle),” said Mohler. “I feel bad for (the driver) because I’m sure he didn’t do it on purpose, but how can you not hear somebody when you hit them?”


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