Deadly Crash on Route 61 in Schuylkill County

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WEST BRUNSWICK TOWNSHIP -- A busy roadway was closed for hours following a deadly crash in Schuylkill County.

Authorities tell us two motorcycles and a truck collided on Route 61 near Orwigsburg. It happened in the northbound lanes just before 4 p.m. Monday.

The coroner identified the victim as Neiko Zalonka, 25, of Schuylkill Haven.


Troopers said Zalonka and another man, Stephen Yourl, 30, of Auburn, were riding motorcycles on Route 61. Another driver, Derek Reber, 19, of Cressona, was making a left turn from Route 61 onto Cinema Boulevard. Investigators said he didn't see the motorcycles coming because of how fast they were going. Zalonka's bike hit the passenger side of Reber's truck. Yourl's bike swiped the front of the truck.

Troopers said Yourl was flown to the hospital with serious injuries. Reber was taken by ambulance with minor injuries,

Route 61 was closed for several hours. It reopened around 9 p.m.


  • Bill K.

    Ohhhh but “look out for motorcycles, they’re everywhere!” How about “hey motorcycle drivers, follow the same rules of the road the rest of us have to follow. Pickup trucks are everywhere!”

    • Jeffrey Goelz

      Who says they weren’t following the rules of the road? Unqualified reports of speed are NOT facts. What is a fact is that a pickup turned into the path of traffic.

      If you think that motorcycles should be treated exactly the same as cars, maybe we ought to spend millions on replacing all of the inductive traffic lights that don’t see us. Motorcycles are different than cars; you can see it in laws that allow us to double-up in a lane and laws that allow us to use the HOV lanes.

      This accident was the fault of the pickup truck driver. I hope he can live with the fact he has killed someone.

      • Amanda

        “…was traveling northbound on Route 61 in a Dodge Ram 2500 and was making a legal left turn onto Cinema Boulevard with adequate clearance. Zalonka and Yourl were traveling at such a high rate that, due to the contour of the road, Reber was unable to see the motorcyclists, police said.”

      • Jeffrey Goelz

        And what device was used to determine rate of speed? Radar?

        Reber was making a legal left turn, but did so when it was unsafe to turn.

      • Clint Cooper

        I think its obvious that the kids on the motorcycles were going way too fast otherwise one of them wouldnt have been sprayed all over that dudes truck.

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