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VIDEO: Truck rolls over median to avoid driver traveling the wrong way


On Tuesday in Pennsylvania, an SUV driver drove the wrong way for seven miles onto Route 222 and encountered a tractor-trailer.

An off-duty police officer witnessed the car driving the wrong direction to merge onto the highway and immediately called 9-1-1. While the officer was on the phone with 9-1-1, the SUV continued unknowingly traveling in the passing lane despite a tractor-trailer quickly approaching.

The police officer that was helplessly watching was sure an accident was about to occur, an accident that would surely be fatal to the SUV driver.

“I saw the tractor-trailer coming toward her and at the last minute the tractor-trailer swerved into the median to lay over his truck to avoid a head-on crash,” Officer Brown told Berks & Beyond.

The truck flipped over the median, spilling its entire load onto the roadway. The truck came to a stop near the northbound passing lane just as Brown was going by.

The drivers on the other side of the highway, including the dash cammer, had to swerve to avoid being hit by the flipping truck.

Other motorists rushed to help the tractor-trailer driver out of the rig. Brown feared that the injuries would be significant because of the severity of the crash.

The truck driver, John Kovach, 50, was taken to Reading Hospital for treatment. The severity of his injuries is unknown at this time.

The SUV driver continued down the road like nothing had happened. Brown began to follow the SUV driver to ensure she did not get away from this accident without taking some sort of responsibility.

She continued traveling north in the southbound passing lane as if nothing had just happened.

“I was just concerned she was going to hurt more people as she continued,” Brown said, “because she was just in the mode where she wasn’t going to stop and everyone needed to get out of her way.”

Brown told Berks & Beyond the SUV driver continued at about 60 mph in the wrong direction the entire stretch of the expressway, formerly known as the Road to Nowhere, before exiting on Allentown Pike, which is Business Route 222, in Ontelaunee Township.

“I’m watching every time a car’s coming toward her and she’s almost taking them out before they (the other driver) go out of the way,” he said.

The SUV driver then attempted to exit (still in the wrong lane) but was blocked by cars traveling the right way. Drivers moved over for the SUV to exit the highway. The SUV then merged onto the correct side of the road and sped off.

The SUV driver was finally stopped at Wal-Mart after Brown signaled to an on-duty officer to apprehend the driver. Sgt. Joel Marino, Muhlenberg Township community services officer, apprehended the SUV driver.

“I was traveling north on Fifth Street Highway because dispatch reported she was trying to turn right off of the on-ramp onto Business Route 222 to come southbound,” Marino said. “FOP President Joe Brown was beeping his horn and flashing his lights at me and I spun around and got her at Wal-Mart.”

The SUV driver, identified as Christine Hockenberry, 49, of Reading, was transported to Penn State Health St. Joseph Hospital for evaluation.

9-1-1 calls later revealed to officials that Hockenberry had to have traveled at least 7 miles in the wrong direction before exiting. Marino said police still had no explanation for why Hockenberry continued to drive for so long after it should have been clear she was going the wrong way.

Brown said the truck driver that flipped his rig over the median to avoid a head-on collision with an SUV is a true hero.

“The fact that no one was killed and no one was seriously injured is a testament to him intentionally risking his life to save everyone else’s life by doing the maneuver he did,” Brown said. “The lady for sure would have been killed in a head-on, and a bunch of other drivers around it, too.”


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