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Tow Truck Driver Badly Hurt While Working at I-81 Crash Scene

UPDATE: Newswatch 16 has an update on the crash we told you about yesterday, where a tow truck driver was severely hurt on Interstate 81 in Lackawanna County. T...
lacka tow truck

UPDATE: Newswatch 16 has an update on the crash we told you about yesterday, where a tow truck driver was severely hurt on Interstate 81 in Lackawanna County.

The owner of Duchnik towing posted to Facebook this morning to say his son, David Duchnik Jr., did not make it. The family plans to fulfill Duchnik's wish of being an organ donor.

It was yesterday morning when the father and son were helping clear another crash on Interstate 81 near Clarks Summit when a tractor-trailer crossed a lane of the highway pinning Duchnik against the tow truck.

State police are still investigating the wreck.

SOUTH ABINGTON TOWNSHIP -- As a tow truck driver was trying to clear wreckage from a crash Friday morning in Lackawanna County, he was hit by an oncoming tractor trailer in the exact same area.

The first crash happened when a pickup truck and Greyhound bus crashed in the southbound lanes near the Clarks Summit exit of Interstate 81.

About an hour later, a tractor trailer slammed into two tow trucks that were called to the first crash.

The tower who was hit is David Duchnik of Scott Township. He's a newlywed and runs the towing business with his dad. His father says he is going to be an organ donor and save others' lives following the crash Friday morning.

It's a situation that also hits home for others in the towing business.

Towers get all kinds of calls at all kinds of hours. The call Mike Milewski got early in the morning is the worst kind.

"The incident this morning, you know, it's one of your friends, and you just want to do the right thing. You want to get there and make sure he's OK."

Milewski heard from a father who had just watched a tractor trailer pin his son against the family's tow truck.

David Duchnik Jr. was severely injured while he and his dad were responding to an earlier crash on Interstate 81 near Clarks Summit. Duchnik's father pulled him from the wreckage.

It's a fear realized by the network of towing companies in Lackawanna County.

"When you see them, you got to get over, and these people don't do it," said Ken Rohland of Moletsky's Towing. "I've personally had experiences where I've almost been blown off my feet on (Interstate) 81 and it's scary. My heart goes to the Duchnik family, and I wish them all the best in this time of need."

We first met David Duchnik earlier this year when he talked to us about a crash he responded to.

State police say this time, David and his dad did everything they could to protect themselves. There were lights on their trucks and they were wearing reflective gear.

Michael Milewski sits on the board for the Pennsylvania Towing Association. He says close calls happen all the time on highways, and it is against the law.

"People aren't aware of the 'slow down, move over law,' and it's very important that we get that out there. It affects fire, police, ambulance, tow trucks, PennDOT, and everyone just needs to make that aware."

According to state police, the tractor trailer that hit David Duchnik was far enough away from the crash scene but then drifted toward the tow truck for an unknown reason.

There is no word yet on whether the driver from Massachusetts will face charges.

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