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Lehigh County man charged with careless driving in fatal crash

Published On: May 12 2014 01:16:53 PM EDT   Updated On: May 12 2014 01:17:05 PM EDT
Route 22 accident

A Lehigh County man is facing charges for his role in a crash that killed his passenger.

County officials said 22-year-old Walter C. Mitchell of 5629 Wedge Lane in Lower Macungie Twp., was charged with careless driving, speeding, and roadways laned for traffic, all summary offenses.

Mitchell was driving east on Route 22 in the righthand lane in Upper Macungie Twp. on March 17 when he left his lane and his car's front right end hit a tractor trailer legally parked on the side of the highway.


As a result of the impact, Mitchell's front passenger, 21-year-old Wayne Alan Leibensperger of East Paoli Street in Salisbury Township, died at the scene.

The accident forced officials to close the highway for several hours.

State police said the road has a slight left curve in the area where the crash occurred, and after leaving the right lane, Mitchell swerved abruptly to the left to try to avoid the tractor, but ended up hitting the trailer.

After the initial impact, Mitchell’s vehicle rotated clockwise, and the front of the vehicle struck the rear axle on the left side of the trailer.

An investigation determined that neither drugs nor alcohol were involved in the crash and witnesses said Mitchell was travelling 55 to 60 miles per hour shortly before the crash.