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Boy killed in crash on Pa. Turnpike spent day learning about dad's job

MOUNT PLEASANT, Pa. — An 11-year-old boy was killed in a crash in the eastbound lanes of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

The crash happened just after 2 p.m. Thursday near mile marker 86.4, which is between the New Stanton and Donegal exits in Westmoreland County.

It's unclear what led up to the crash, but Channel 11 learned a Nissan Frontier struck the back of a tractor-trailer. The Nissan went under the rear of the trailer.

Just after 4 p.m., Pennsylvania State Police confirmed that at least one person was killed. Channel 11's Melanie Marsalko confirmed the victim was an 11-year-old boy. At 8 p.m., the Westmoreland County Coroner identified the boy as Hayden Field, a student at Connellsville Area Middle School.

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Field's father was thrown from the vehicle and was flown to a hospital.

"One of the other workers on the turnpike that knows me real well called me on the phone and told me, 'please please expedite.' He says, 'it's one of our workers,'" said Jerry Lucia of the Mount Pleasant Volunteer Fire Department.


That longtime Turnpike worker brought his son, Field, to work with him Thursday.

"You cannot explain it in other words other than a good boy with his father to learn his father's job," Lucia said.

It was their special day.

"It was father-son day. It was children's day to go to work with their parents. He was showing them what they do. It's just devastating," Lucia said.

The eastbound lanes were closed until about 7 p.m. during the investigation and cleanup.

The Connellsville Area School District released the following statement:

"On Thursday, April 25, a sixth-grade student at Connellsville Area Middle School was involved in a fatal vehicle accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. We extend our sympathy and condolences to the family. Our thoughts, prayers, and support are with them.

"Our Crisis Response Team was promptly mobilized to help our students and staff with this tragic loss. Staff, students, and families were informed. Counselors are and will be available to talk to students in the classrooms and with individual children. District counselors along with counselors specially trained in grief, death, and mourning will be present as long as needed to assist both children and staff with the feelings they are experiencing."

Friends of the Field family told Channel 11 this was part of take your child to work day, but the Pa. Turnpike has since said that was not the case.

"The PA Turnpike does not host formal Bring-Your-Child-to-Work Day events or activities at field locations including maintenance facilities. We believe that Harvey had taken a day off to show his son — who also was off school for the day — where he works... We await information on how we may best serve Denny and his family and care for their needs at this time."