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Police: Wrong-way driver on Route 22 slammed into 4 cars, 5 people hurt

By Jamie Stover, Reporter, JStover@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 06 2014 10:36:49 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 28 2014 04:32:23 AM CDT

Wrong-way driver on Route 22

SOUTH WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. -

A driver heading the wrong way on a busy highway in Lehigh County caused multiple wrecks late Saturday night, according to a state police news release issued Sunday night.

The series of crashes happened around 11 p.m. Saturday in the area of Route 22 West near Cedar Crest Boulevard in South Whitehall Township.

According to State Police, 36-year-old Joseph Hoch of Whitehall was driving a pickup truck that entered the westbound lanes of Route 22 from Route 309 heading east.

Police said the truck's headlights and hazard lights were not turned on.

Officials said Hoch's pickup slammed into four cars between Cedar Crest Boulevard and 15th Street.

Another car was damaged by flying debris.

The truck was also damaged.

Troopers said five people were taken to the hospital, including Hoch, who suffered major injuries.

Ryan Koester was driving on the westbound side of the highway when he saw the car ahead of him swerve to the right.

He later discovered the truck in the left-hand shoulder.

"I was like 'what the heck, is he going the wrong way?'" Koester said.

Koester's dashboard camera recorded part of the ordeal.

Witnesses are wondering how the driver was able to cross the highway.

"You would get on the highway on the right lane. You would have to do something serious to get over in the passing lane," said Mike Corcoran, who also drove by the truck.

Mike Corcoran and his wife Madeline were on their way home from visiting family when they came across the truck.

"I just jerked the steering wheel as quickly as I possibly could. Luckily, there was no one on the right side of the lane or we would have smacked them," Corcoran said.

Madeline Corcoran credits her husband for saving their lives.

"Thank goodness his reaction was so good," she said.

Police said a portion of the highway was closed for about an hour following the wrecks.

There may have been other minor crashes earlier Saturday night, police said.

The investigation is ongoing.