Route 422 drag race ends in crash

Source: Pottstown Mercury
Author: Margaret Fitzcharles
Date: 2002/04/28

Saturday night Limerick police were still seeking the driver of the second car in the suspected race that led to the crash that occurred just east of the Sanatoga interchange near the spot where seven people lost their lives in a multiple vehicle pileup seven years ago.

Robert Norwood Jr., 30, and his son, Shane Norwood, 8, of Allison Lane, Pottstown, were injured when their Geo Tracker crashed broadside into a 2000 Subaru that police believe was one of the cars involved in the 12:35 p.m. drag race, reports state. The Subaru was ripped apart on impact.

Norwood was listed in stable condition at Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia where he was flown by MedEvac helicopter after the crash. His son, Shane, was released from Pottstown Memorial Medical Center after treatment for his injuries, according to police.

The driver of one of the cars allegedly involved in the drag race, Charles Nelligan Jr., 26, of West Bridge Street, Phoenixville, was listed in fair condition at Brandywine Hospital and Trauma Center, Caln.

It was Nelligan's car that police said spun out of control during the illegal race. The second car suspected of participating in the drag race failed to stop and fled the scene, police said.

Limerick police ask that anyone who may have seen the crash or events that led up to it contact the department at 610-495-7909.

Police said Nelligan was driving west on the Route 422 expressway when he lost control and his car went into a spin. His Subaru crossed over the grass median into the eastbound lanes broadside, directly into the path of Norwood's Geo.

The impact of the crash split Nelligan's car in half, police said.

The rear half of the car flew into the median and landed in the westbound passing lane of the busy highway.

The front half of the car, with Nelligan still trapped inside, spun three times before coming to rest on the eastbound shoulder, according to police.

Nelligan had to be cut out of the wreckage by emergency volunteers from Limerick Fire Co.

He was flown to Brandywine by SkyCare 1 medical helicopter.

The accident, which snarled traffic on the expressway for some time, remains under investigation, with police searching for the driver of the car they believe was racing with Nelligan.

Meanwhile, Limerick Police Chief W. Douglas Weaver, who was at the accident scene, expressed frustration that needless traffic crashes and injuries continue to occur despite his department's rigid enforcement of traffic laws on the expressway and despite attempts to educate area motorists of the dangers of such risky driving.

"We have seen accidents such as this one several times, and they will continue to occur, and the underlying factor is always the same -- outrageous driving," he said. "Someone who drives like a jerk cannot be educated or deterred."



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