Keystone College students killed in car crash in LaPlume Township

By Travis Kellar - | January 26th, 2016 4:52 pm

SCRANTON — Two people were killed in a motor vehicle crash in LaPlume Township in Lackawanna County on Monday, including a woman from Wilkes-Barre.

Authorities say a car went out of control and collided with an oncoming vehicle on an eastern Pennsylvania highway, killing two college students. State police in Dunmore say the crash happened at about 9:40 a.m. Monday on routes 6 and 11 in La Plume Township.

Coroner Timothy Rowland said 20-year-old Michael Burkhardt of Waymart and 20-year-old Tashandra Burton of Wilkes-Barre were pronounced dead at Geisinger Community Medical Center.

Officials said the victims were freshmen at Keystone College, and four other students were injured: Emily Fardoulis, 19 of Smyrna, Delaware; Allison Berman, 18 of Wilkes-Barre; Kaylee Ceci, 18 of Tamaqua; and Joshua Zilla, 20 of Dunmore.

Keystone College spokesman Francis Calpin said the college is a “close-knit family community” and the tragedy “saddens us deeply.” He said grief counseling will be available.

Burkhardt and Burton were transported to the Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton, where Rowland said they succumbed to their injuries.

According to state police, the crash occurred as unit #1, a 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt operated by Burton, was traveling east in the eastbound lanes of US 6 and 11 and Burton lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle traveled across the grass median and into the westbound lanes, police said.

The second unit, a 2012 Volkswagen Jetta operated by Zilla was traveling west in the westbound lanes of US 6 and 11. Unit No. 1 and Unit No. 2 collided when Unit No. 1 entered the westbound lanes. Following the impact, both units traveled onto the roadside and came to final rest on the right shoulder, police said.

The investigation is continuing.

By Travis Kellar

Reach Travis Kellar at 570-991-6389 or on Twitter @TLNews