A Nesquehoning police cruiser was the cause of a two-vehicle accident Monday that resulted in the death of a woman riding in the front passenger seat of a compact car, according to state police.
Carola R. Sauers, 69, was pronounced dead at St. Luke's University Hospital in Fountain Hill following the 6:30 p.m. accident, which happened in Nesquehoning on Route 209 about 11/2 miles north of Route 93.
Sauers was flown by helicopter to the hospital with the driver, 64-year-old Michael Sauers, who suffered severe injuries, according to a news release from state police in Lehighton. The news release did not include their address, but public records show Carola R. Sauers was a licensed physical therapy assistant from Hazleton.
An accident investigation by state police determined that Nesquehoning police officer Stephen Homanko, 25, lost control of the police cruiser on a curve in the two-lane road. His vehicle entered the opposite lane, and the driver's side rear of the police car hit the front bumper of the compact car Sauers was driving. Homanko was treated and released from the hospital, police said.
Trooper David Peters said the investigation hasn't determined where the officer was headed. Peters said investigators are conducting interviews to determine if the Nesquehoning officer was responding to an emergency when he lost control.
"There is no evidence to say he was pursuing anyone," Peters said.
Photos from the accident show the police cruiser, a 2009 Ford Crown Victoria, had major rear-end damage, and the Sauers' car had major front-end damage and a shattered windshield.
State police are continuing to investigate and are seeking additional information from witnesses who may have seen the accident or the vehicles just prior to the accident. Call 610-377-4270 with information.
Police from Lehighton, Jim Thorpe, Nesquehoning and Beaver Meadows responded with state police to the accident, which closed Route 209 while a state police reconstruction team examined and documented the accident scene. Emergency units also responded from Nesquehoning, New Columbus and Jim Thorpe fire departments.
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