Loose Gravel, Speed Combine to Cause Lower Mac Accidents
Crashes near the same intersection two days apart follow oil and chipping of roadway, police say.
Loose gravel from recent road maintenance was a contributing factor in two motor vehicle accidents that occurred a day apart on Willow Lane in Lower Macungie Township, according to police.
Neither accident resulted in serious injury, according to state police at Fogelsville.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation recently had applied oil and gravel, known as chips, to portions of Willow Lane and several other roadways throughout the East Penn area. PennDOT also had erected several orange signs warning of loose grave that remained in place at the time of the accident and days later in the affected areas.
The first accident occurred at 7:33 a.m. Sept. 13 and involved a motorcycle driven by David W. Stout, 50, of Bethlehem, police said. Stout was drivingnorth on Willow Lane near John Fries Drive when his motorcycle slid on loose gravel in the street.
The bike's side peg and crash bar struck the roadway. The motorcycle continued to slide and spun before striking a culvert and landing in grass, police said. In all, it traveled about 150 feet from the initial point of the accident.
Stout had minor injuries, but refused treatment, police said.
The trooper noted "roadway conditions" and did not cite Stout.
The second accident occurred at 4:28 p.m. Sept. 14. Joseph A. Nicolini, 16, of Macungie was northbound on Willow, again near John Fries Drive, when his car slid on gravel on the berm, police said.
He over-corrected his steering and slid sideways before striking several large rocks with his right front bumper, police said. The impact spun the car. This time the left front bumper struck rocks. The car continued on until it hit a utility pole, again damaging the right front bumper.
Nicolini was not injured, police said.
However, he was cited for failing to maintain his lane, police said.
Oil and chip is an effective process of sealing roadways to extend their use an average of three to five years, according to PennDOT spokesman Sean Brown. A sweeper vehicle is used to remove the majority of loose gravel, but the safety process includes posting the orange signs as an indicator that motorists "need to slow down and drive at appropriate speeds."
The reports did not indicate estimated speeds for either accident.