23.8 C
New York

Trucker Faces Homicide Charges For Tow Truck Driver’s Death


One year after a deadly crash in Pennsylvania, a truck driver is facing homicide charges for the death of a tow truck driver.

The crash happened last August on I-81 near Clarks Summit.

Father On Scene For Crash That Claimed Son’s Life

According to reports, 29-year-old third generation tow truck driver David Duchnik, Jr. was helping his father at the site of a previous crash in a closed lane on the interstate. A police officer was directing traffic and saw a tractor trailer veering towards the crash site. The officer was able to get out of the way and warned Duchnik, but he wasn’t able to move in time.

The semi reportedly struck another vehicle, which then hit Duchnik. He was transported to the hospital in critical condition and later died.

Homicide, Log Book Falsification Charges Filed

Following a year long investigation, charges of homicide by motor vehicle were filed against Massachusetts based truck driver Johnny Coelho this morning. He also faces six charges for falsifying his log books. Investigators say that Coelho had been driving for over 35 hours without significant rest breaks.

He is not yet in custody.

The investigation took a year as investigators poured over Coelho’s log books and sifted through E-ZPass records.

From the criminal complaint against Coelho: “Coelho’s operation of the tractor trailer in such a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others caused an avoidable crash that resulted in the death of David L. Duchnik Jr. The factors considered include but are not limited to: Coelho’s unlawful operation of the tractor trailer for almost 36 hours without any significant break as required by law; the “blank stare” Officer Brown observed on Coelho’s face when he traveled through the emergency response area; the lack of any medical issues Coelho had at the time; the availability and ample space on the shoulder of the highway for Coelho to pass safely through the emergency response area; and the numerous traffic violations Coelho committed within and around the emergency response area.”

Family friend Don Stephens Jr. told CDLLife: “The tow truck driver was a friend and I’ve known his wife most of my life. He had just turned 30 years old a couple hours before he was hit and he and his wife would have celebrated their first wedding anniversary in a couple months. I graduated high school with his sister, I know a lot of people affected by this. The driver is being charged … and a  DOT investigation found he had been driving for over 30 hrs straight. As a driver myself I simply cannot see how something like this is worth doing. He destroyed a lot of people lives, including his own.




Get the hottest daily trucking news

This Week in Trucking