Berks coroner IDs 28-year-old man killed in head-on crash on Route 222 [Update]

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Sep. 23—Route 222 in Maidencreek Township was closed for five hours after a fatal head-on crash Friday morning involving a passenger vehicle and a tractor-trailer, Berks County emergency officials said.

Christopher Lee Rankin, 28, formerly of Boyertown, was pronounced dead at 8:58 a.m. by Berks County Deputy Coroner Terry Straka.

Rankin was the vehicle's only occupant, and the tractor-trailer driver was reportedly uninjured, according to George Holmes, chief county coroner.

Initial reports indicated the vehicle was stuck under the rig and the occupant was trapped in the wreckage.

An official cause of death ruling is pending, but Holmes said Rankin likely died from multiple blunt force trauma.

The section between Pleasant Hill and Schaeffer roads was closed to all traffic between just before 8:30 a.m. until about 1:30 p.m. while police investigated, officials said.

Tractor-trailers entering Berks from Lehigh County were rerouted to Interstate 78 by way of Route 737 in Maxatawny Township. Fire police from Lehigh County were dispatched to assist Berks units in that effort.

The crash happened about 8:15 a.m. on Allentown Pike, which is Route 222, just north of Berks Memorial Gardens cemetery, and caused Friday morning truck-heavy traffic to back up in all directions. There were reports of a southbound backlog extending close to the Lehigh County line during the morning hours.

Further details about the crash were unavailable from Northern Berks Regional Police Friday afternoon.