Suspect in Knox Twp. Head-on Crash Waives Hearing

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CLEARFIELD – A man accused of fleeing the scene of a head-on crash after which two people were flown to Altoona with major injuries waived his right to a preliminary hearing during Centralized Court on Wednesday at the Clearfield County Jail.

Terry Lee Crownover, 31, of Madera has been charged with accidents involving death or personal injury and related summary offenses. His charges stem from a head-on crash that occurred May 8 on Pine Run Road in Knox Township.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Crownover was traveling eastbound and negotiating a downhill, left-hand curve when he lost control of his vehicle. A female operating another vehicle was traveling westbound on an uphill grade and noticed the Crownover vehicle swerving from side-to-side in the middle of the roadway.

The female attempted to get off the roadway; however, the Crownover vehicle struck her vehicle head-on. Upon impact the Crownover vehicle spun counterclockwise and overturned onto its right side. The female’s vehicle spun clockwise and came to a rest, facing east with its rear end against the Crownover vehicle.

Crownover helped the female get out but then fled the scene. A male passenger was still trapped inside the vehicle, which caught fire after flames spread from the Crownover vehicle. The female was able to get her passenger out and they moved a safe distance away from the burning vehicles, according to the affidavit.

Both occupants, the affidavit states, suffered major injuries and were flown to UPMC Altoona for treatment. State police later located and identified the operator of the suspect vehicle as Crownover. He had sustained minor injuries as a result of the crash. Both vehicles, the affidavit states, were towed from the scene.

Upon arrival to the crash scene, state police observed that both vehicles had sustained major, disabling damage. Both had front end damage that was consistent with a head-on crash. Also, both vehicles had been completely destroyed by fire. The right side of the Crownover vehicle was flattened from it overturning after the head-on crash.

Skid marks indicated the female had attempted to stop on the side of the roadway before being struck by the Crownover vehicle. There weren’t any visible skid marks from the Crownover vehicle, which showed there wasn’t an attempt to avoid the head-on crash, the affidavit states.

Fire personnel responded to the scene to handle the vehicle fires. The fire, which originated from the Crownover vehicle, spread to the bank alongside the roadway; it was extinguished by fire personnel.

On May 9, Crownover’s wife contacted state police to report a stolen vehicle. During the investigation, she admitted to state police that her husband was the operator of the vehicle involved in the head-on crash.

On May 10, state police interviewed the male passenger who described the Crownover vehicle as traveling downhill “out of control” and sliding “side-to-side.” His wife, he said, hit the brakes to try to get out of the way, but it was too late.

All he remembered was that the other operator fled and his wife helped him out. Once he was freed from the vehicle, he told state police he rolled down the hill, because the vehicles were on fire, and he wasn’t sure if it would cause an explosion. Crownover, he said, never returned to the crash scene to offer assistance.

State police also interviewed the female operator who described the Crownover vehicle as “swerving out of control” and “heading straight for her.” She said she slammed on her brakes to get off the roadway but before she knew it, the Crownover vehicle had struck her vehicle head-on.

She said Crownover came to her window and asked if she was OK. She told him no and he helped her out. When she observed the Crownover vehicle on fire, she told him they needed to get her husband out of her vehicle.

But she said Crownover said no, “he had to go get help” and took off screaming down the hill. She said she managed to free her husband and help him roll down the hill before both vehicles caught fire.

On May 11, state police interviewed Crownover about the head-on crash. He claimed the female’s vehicle was coming up the hill in the middle of the roadway and he swerved to avoid it. However, Crownover said the rear of his vehicle slid and was struck by the female’s vehicle.

Crownover told state police he wasn’t even sure how his vehicle overturned onto its side. All he remembered after that was he’d climbed out and asked the occupants of the other vehicle if they were OK to which they said yes.

Crownover said after that he ran down the road toward his residence screaming for help. Once he got to his residence, he said he tripped and passed out. Crownover said he didn’t contact state police, as he’d observed other people respond to the crash scene.

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