24-year-old father-to-be killed changing tire on Route 28 near Tarentum

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TARENTUM, Pa. - Police said a driver hit and killed a 24-year-old father-to-be while he was changing a tire on Route 28 in Tarentum early Wednesday morning.

The medical examiner identified the victim as Kevin Eshelman, of Leechburg. Investigators said Eshelman and Chad Atkins, of Apollo, were changing the flat tire on Eshelman's car just before 4 a.m.

"They were on the berm. The vehicle was parked on the berm and they were attempting to change a flat tire," said Trooper Dan Kesten.

Police said Michael Sikora was driving in the northbound lanes and attempted to take the exit 14 off-ramp when he struck Eshelman and Akins. Eshleman died at the scene.

Leechburg Superintendent Jim Budzelik said he knows the Eshelman family well because Kevin’s father coaches football and Kevin played football while he was a student.

“Anytime there’s a loss it’s terrible for it to happen. The way it happened is just terrible,” Budzelik said. “Students and faculty remember him. Leechburg is a small community where everybody knows everybody.”

Atkins was taken to Allegheny General Hospital with minor injuries.

The northbound lanes of Route 28 near the scene of the crash were closed for several hours while police investigated. The lanes have since reopened.

State police said drivers should try to get as far off the road when there is an emergency and call for help.

"If you can't get the car far enough off the roadway to where you yourself are safe enough to make the repair it's best to call a towing agency," said Kesten.

Police said Sikora was questioned and released. At this point, investigators have not determined if any charges will be filed.

The incident remains under investigation.