Towanda School Board president pronounced dead after truck crashes into house, garage
TOWANDA TOWNSHIP - The president of the Towanda Area School Board was pronounced dead after the pickup truck he was driving crashed into a house and a garage on South Main Street in Towanda Township Tuesday afternoon, the Bradford County coroner said.
Pete Alesky Jr., 67, of Franklin Township was driving a 2011 Ford E350 pickup truck south on South Main Street at 12:46 p.m. when, for an unknown reason, it traveled off the east side of the road and struck a two-story home, Bradford County Coroner Tom Carman said.
"Witnesses state that (Alesky's) vehicle slowly drifted off the roadway, ultimately colliding with the residence," Carman said in a press release that he issued Tuesday night. "An autopsy has been scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday) morning to determine if there was a medical event prior to the accident."
Alesky was transported by ambulance to Memorial Hospital in Towanda, where he was pronounced dead by the coroner at 2:52 p.m., the coroner said.
The house that was struck, which is located at the intersection with Chapel Street, is the home of Margaret Potter, according to two neighbors and Potter's son, 49-year-old Brian Potter.
Brian Potter said the truck struck the southwest corner of the house, taking out approximately one-quarter of the living room.
Margaret Potter, 73, had been watching TV in her living room before the accident occurred, Brian Potter said.
She had fallen asleep while watching the television in her recliner chair, and when the crash occurred, woke up "and said, 'Where's my TV?'" according to Brian Potter.
The television, which was located in the corner of the living room where the truck struck, was carried off and destroyed in the accident, Brian Potter said.
Margaret Potter did not see the truck at first, and thought there might have been a explosion of a gas line, he said.
Margaret Potter was not injured in the accident, the coroner said.
"She's doing alright," Brian Potter said. "She's shook up."
Brian Potter estimated that his mother was sitting 16 to 18 feet away from the television, which was a flat-screen model.
"Some glass from a picture window landed near her chair, but nothing landed on her," he said.
Besides damaging the living room, the truck also tore out part of the exterior wall of an upstairs bedroom, Brian Potter said. After crashing through the side wall of the garage, the truck came to rest with its front section, up to its front wheels, lodged inside the garage, Brian Potter said.
A neighbor, Barb Sentyz, who lives across the street from Margaret Potter, said she had spoken to several Towanda Municipal Authority workers who had been working on Sentyz' property at the time of the accident and who had witnessed it.
"They said everything was just flying," including a bush in front of Potter residence that the vehicle struck, and a street sign at the corner of Chapel and South Main streets that was sheared off by the truck, Sentyz said.
Alesky was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident, the coroner said.
Margaret Potter had insurance on the house, her son said.
James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org