Truck Brings Rude Awakening for Laceyville Woman
By David Keeler
It’s definitely not the way to start your day.
“I didn’t know what it was,” Laceyville resident Betty Charland said when she was awakened by a loud noise outside her house at about 6 a.m. Wednesday. Betty’s home is approximately a half-mile west of Laceyville Borough, down an embankment from the westbound lane of Route 6.
What Betty heard was an out-of-control tractor trailer slamming through guiderails, careening over the hillside above her home, roaring through her front yard and coming to rest just inches from her porch.
“It was terrible,” Betty, who’s in her early 70’s, said moments after the crash. “I couldn’t imagine what was going on outside.” She was still shaking from the ordeal.
The good news is that Betty was uninjured and her home survived this close call with no damage.
Driver of the truck, Ronald Bates, who was uninjured in the crash, said he was eastbound on Route 6 when he collided with a car after he swerved to avoid a parked vehicle partially blocking his lane. The driver of the other car, a Honda Civic with Ohio plates, was said to be a gas company employee but had not been identified by police as of the Rocket-Courier’s press deadline Wednesday afternoon. He was transported from the scene in an ambulance and is believed to have been seriously injured. Bates said the driver of the parked vehicle that forced him to swerve left the scene just after the crash and this person’s identify remains unknown.
Bates said the crash resulted in his truck having no brakes and no steering, leaving him a helpless passenger in an unguided missile. The out-of-control truck crossed the westbound lane of Route 6, crashing through guiderails and going over a steep embankment before narrowly missing Charland’s home. A piece of the guiderails ended up next to Bates’s truck in the front yard.
Bates said it was a small tree near Charland’s house that deflected his truck and likely kept it from hitting Charland’s house. The truck was carrying a load of tallow from the rendering operation at Wyalusing’s Cargill plant.
This isn’t the first time Betty Charland has had a close encounter with Route 6 traffic. Last spring a tractor trailer lost a wheel and it slammed into Betty’s garage, which is a short distance from her home.
Wyalusing, Laceyville and Meshoppen emergency crews responded to the scene. The crash resulted in the westbound lane of Route 6 being closed to traffic.