Hazleton man killed in Schuylkill County crash


NEW CASTLE TWP. — A Hazleton man was killed as he lost control of a stolen motorcycle as he attempted to pass several vehicles on Route 61 in Schuylkill County early Thursday.

State police identified the man as Rafael Mateo, 29, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Troopers said Mateo was operating a Suzuki motorcycle and traveling south at a high rate of speed on the highway near Frackville.

Mateo encountered slower traffic and passed a Jeep, making a sudden lane change and cutting off the driver of the Jeep, state police said.

Mateo then encountered a tractor-trailer, and as he attempted to pass by driving on center dash lines, he struck the rear of a Mack dump truck, which was slowing down to turn right onto Darkwater Road, authorities report.

Mateo then struck a second Mack dump truck that was also slowing down to turn onto Darkwater Road, troopers say.

State police said the motorcycle, which was reported stolen in Virginia, was destroyed.