Driver charged in crash that seriously injured passenger

Victim remains in a coma more than 4 months later

MOUNT PENN, Pa. - A Reading man is facing criminal charges for a crash that left one of his three passengers in a coma with life-threatening injuries.

Police on Thursday obtained a warrant for the arrest of Michael Melendez-Long Jr., who, they said, was behind the wheel of a car when it crashed at a high rate of speed on Skyline Drive atop Mount Penn in Lower Alsace Township on February 1.

A 16-year-old boy, who was a front-seat passenger in the car, was left unconscious with life-threatening injuries, according to police, who said that Melendez-Long dragged the boy out of the car, propped him up on the wall that borders the road, and then pushed him over the wall with him in an attempt to flee the scene before first-responders arrived.

Both were later found by responding officers.

The seriously injured boy spent several months in critical but stable condition at Reading Hospital before being recently transferred to a long-term pediatric care facility in Lancaster County, where he remains in a coma, police said.

The other two passengers -- a 17-year-old girl and a 20-year-old woman -- were not hurt.

Melendez-Long, 18, of Reading, is facing charges of aggravated assault, aggravated assault by vehicle, accidents involving death or personal injury while not properly licensed, receiving stolen property, simple assault, and recklessly endangering another person, as well as five summary traffic violations. He's expected to surrender to authorities this weekend, police said.

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