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Mahoning official, school board candidate killed in crash; traffic signal was out

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    Ruch

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    COPYRIGHT LARRY NEFF/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

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    COPYRIGHT LARRY NEFF/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

Published April 16. 2019 08:46AM

 

A Lehighton man who served as a Mahoning Township supervisor was killed Monday evening in a crash at a busy Schuylkill County intersection where the traffic lights were not working.

State police at Schuylkill Haven identified the victim as Franklin L. Ruch, 54, of Lehighton.

Ruch was currently serving as chairman of the Mahoning Township board of supervisors and was a candidate on the ballot for Lehighton Area School Board.

Mahoning Township Police Chief Audie Mertz said Ruch’s passing is hard to put into words.

“It was obviously very sudden and unexpected; really a shock,” Mertz said.

Troopers said Ruch died upon impact. The crash happened just after 7 p.m.

According to troopers, Ruch was operating a 2007 GMC Envoy westbound on Route 895 while Gary R. Reinoehl, 46, of Pine Grove, was driving a 2015 Ford F650 truck northbound on Route 61.

Troopers said all traffic lights at the intersection, referred to as the Molino intersection, were not functioning due to recent weather conditions and a loss of electrical power.

Troopers said the two vehicles entered the intersection at the same time, causing the truck to strike the left side of the GMC.

The force of impact caused the GMC to go northwest through the intersection to the south side of Route 61 where it came to rest. The truck continued north after impact, became airborne and landed on top of the center barrier.

Reinoehl was not injured. Damages were disabling to both vehicles.

In 2011, Ruch was a candidate for Carbon County commissioner.

Ruch is the second Mahoning supervisor to be killed in a crash. Linda Benner was killed in September 2013.

 

 

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