On Friday night, tragedy struck the people of Athens Township, Pennsylvania. However, the tragedy did not hit home until the bodies of 29-year-old father Derek Marshall and his 1-year-old baby Maddox were pulled from the Susquehanna River. Although not everyone knew the father and son, the loss of the young family took an emotional toll on the entire Pennsylvania township because they were so young and full of life.
Locals were quick to describe how much of a tragedy this loss was for their community.
“I was very devastated,” Athens resident Gloria Lincoln said. “Very devastated. It brings tears to my eyes because it’s so sad.”
The incident happened around 10 pm on Friday according to the Athens Township police department. The police watched as a speeding vehicle came blasting along Sheshequin Road. However, the car then went off the road and crashed into the river. While Maddox and Derek drowned in the river, the girlfriend and mother Emily Hoey fled the car and escaped before the vehicle sank to the bottom of the river.
Police found Hoey clinging to life on the bank of the river. However, Derek and Maddox were nowhere to be found. Their bodies were recovered the following day when the rescue crews finally got the vehicles into the water.
“I was on the ambulance squad many years ago and called to some accidents there in that area,” Jennifer Hunsinger of Sayre said. “My father is a retired trooper. There was a bad accident earlier on in his career that affected him for the rest of his life. It’s something you never forget.”
The accident was a tragedy, but also left people in the community wondering about the details. How did the vehicle get into the river? Why did only Hoey survive the crash? What happened?
People are always fearful of Sheshequin Road. It is a very dangerous place in Bradford County. Local authorities warn people from speeding on the road because it has been home to many, many accidents in the past. That’s why many locals avoid it altogether.
“It’s windy, and it’s kind of narrow,” Frederick Wasielewski of Sayre said. “It’s not as narrow as it used to be. It’s a little bit safer now, but still, I would go the speed limit.”
Local authorities don’t know if the driver of the car was speeding, but that’s what they suspect. However, investigators are not eager to share details yet. They have not announced who was behind the wheel of the car. It could have been either Hoey or Derek. They also have not indicated why the vehicle was speeding. They also do not know what might have caused the vehicle to go off the road and into the water.
“If the guy was speeding. He shouldn’t have been,” Lincoln said. “He had a small child in the car.”
However, despite Lincoln’s judgments, it has not been declared if Derek was behind the wheel of the car, or if his girlfriend was.
Authorities will be conducting autopsies on the bodies of Maddox and Derek this week.