Press and Journal

Switch to desktop Register Login

Route 230 accident could have been much worse, police chief says

230accident1PJSubmitted photo -- The driver of this Mazda Protege avoided serious injury, despite the back half of the car being sheared off from the force of a collision on Route 230 in Lower Swatara Twp. on Wednesday, Sept. 30.

A two-car accident in front of the Middletown Home on Route 230 in Lower Swatara Twp. around 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 30 ripped one of the vehicles in half – but miraculously, no one was seriously injured, township police said.

A Mazda Protege pulled out of a Middletown Home driveway into the path of a Volkswagen Jetta that was heading west in the passing lane on 230, Lower Swatara Police Chief Richard Brandt told the Press And Journal.

The Jetta struck the rear of the Mazda behind the driver's side, and the impact sheared off the back half of the Mazda and sent it over the guardrail on the other side of Route 230, Brandt said.

Golf clubs that were in the trunk of the Mazda landed all over the road, and debris from the crash was scattered across all three railroad tracks on the Harrisburg International Airport side of the highway, he said.

The driver of the Mazda, 20-year-old Jayson Elhajj of Lower Swatara Twp., was taken by ambulance to the hospital but his injuries appeared to be minor, Brandt said.

The driver of the Jetta, 17-year-old Noah Zimmerman, and a 15-year-old passenger, both of Lower Swatara Twp., refused medical treatment, Brandt said. The Jetta was towed from the scene.

"This was a fraction of an inch away from (being) a fatal accident," Brandt said. Had anyone been in the back seat of the Mazda, they almost certainly would have been seriously injured or even killed, the chief said.

Moreover, things would have been much worse had there been other traffic on the road at the time, especially heading east on Route 230 into Middletown, but luckily there wasn't, Brandt said.

"It would have been a three or four-car accident," the chief said.

The crash is still under investigation. No drugs or alcohol were involved, Brandt said. It appears that Elhajj pulled out into the path of the Jetta, which did not have any chance to avoid the collision, Brandt said.

It's possible Elhajj did not see the Jetta coming, but it's still too early in the investigation to know, Brandt said. Brandt said he does not expect any criminal charges to be filed.

At least two fatal accidents have occurred in this same area over the last 20 to 30 years, Brandt said. In one case, an elderly resident of the home was killed after pulling out into the path of another vehicle in broad daylight, Brandt said.

Brandt advised that drivers use caution when exiting the Middletown Home onto Route 230.

Lower Swatara police were assisted at the scene by police from Highspire and Penn State Harrisburg. Amtrak police were also alerted to the crash.

Also assisting were fire departments from Highspire, Lower Swatara, and Londonderry Twp., and Lower Swatara public works employees.