Charlie Gerow, a Republican who announced his candidacy for governor last month, said Friday that he is cooperating with a police investigation into an accident in which a motorcyclist was killed, and that shut down the Pennsylvania Turnpike for seven hours.
Gerow apparently drove for several miles with the motorcycle stuck to the front of his car, according to a witness. In a statement through a spokesperson, Gerow said he did not cause the accident and he was not injured.
Pennsylvania State Police have released little information about the accident Wednesday night just before 10 p.m., saying only that it involved a motorcycle and a car that a Gerow spokesperson identified as the one Gerow was driving.
The turnpike was closed for seven hours after the accident in the westbound lanes in Chester County, just west of the King of Prussia interchange, police said in a news release.
The Chester County coroner’s office identified the victim as Logan Carl Abbott, 30, of Bradford County. The cause of death is multiple blunt impacts and toxicology tests on the victim are pending, Chester County Coroner Christina VandePol said.
It is not clear whether other vehicles were involved, or how the accident happened.
A highway construction worker told Spotlight PA/The Philadelphia Inquirer that he was working on the turnpike's eastbound lanes Wednesday night when he saw a Mercedes pass by with a motorcycle wedged into its grill.
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The worker, Nicholas Forgette, who works for a traffic control company in Pottstown, said sparks were flying from the car and that it was traveling at a high rate of speed. He and his crew, he said, watched in disbelief.
“It was a big motorcycle, too," Forgette said. "There were a bunch of sparks. And it was very loud.”
As construction workers moved down the highway, Forgette said he saw that state police had pulled over the Mercedes several miles after where he had first seen it drive by with the motorcycle still attached.
The motorcycle “was sitting upright, with the side stuck into the front of the car,” Forgette said.
Gerow, 66, runs a communications and marketing firm in Harrisburg with offices two blocks from the state Capitol, where he is a familiar face.
In the statement, Gerow said he “looks forward to the State Police completing their investigation and is confident that the investigation will confirm that he was not the cause (of) the accident."
Gerow said he was advised not discuss the matter further until the investigation is complete.
This is Gerow’s first statewide campaign after running unsuccessfully for Congress and the state Legislature in the past.
Before he announced his candidacy in June, Gerow had toured the state GOP’s event circuit for months, speaking to audiences as a potential candidate.
He is vice chairman of the American Conservative Union, a national political organization, and a rank-and-file state party committee member. He got his start in politics volunteering — and later as a paid staffer — on the presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan.
He is also known to Sunday morning television audiences in central Pennsylvania for appearing for more than two decades as a political commentator on “Face the State,” a public affairs show on the local CBS affiliate.