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Amber Alert

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Rig hits stalled car on I-78; 2 teens die

The two teenagers from Bethlehem were heading west on I-78 for a Friday night out when a tractor-trailer cut them off and their car stalled. Jessica Turzanski was still relating the story to her mother on the phone when a second truck slammed into her car.

Turzanski, an 18-year-old Liberty High School senior, and her friend, Dametria L. Davis, a 19-year-old waitress who graduated from Liberty in 2006, were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, which occurred about 10 p.m. in Tilden Township, Berks County.

Charges are not expected to be filed against the truck driver, said Trooper Kevin Wackley ''It appears to be bad luck,'' he said.Roxanne Davis, Dametria's mother, sat quietly at a kitchen table piled high with food from friends as teary family members sat in her Bethlehem living room Saturday afternoon.

''Anytime you've got to bury your child, it's a nightmare,'' she said.

Twelve hours after two Bethlehem police officers knocked on her door around 4 a.m. to tell her Dametria had been killed, Roxanne Davis said she was still in shock.

Veronica Duggan, Dametria Davis' cousin, said she thought it likely the two teens were headed to a dance club in Hamburg when the accident occurred.

The truck driver, Mark Scali, 52, of Brookfield, Ohio, was uninjured in the crash, which is under investigation, police said. They would not say who owned the truck, what Scali was hauling or where he was headed.

Turzanski's car had stalled in the right lane on a bridge over the Schuylkill River where there was no shoulder, Wackley said. Upon impact, it was pinned between the side of the truck and the concrete barrier on the north side of the bridge.

The westbound lane of I-78 was shut down for about five hours after the accident.

Relatives of both girls said Turzanski was on her cell phone explaining to her mother, Susan, how they became stuck on the bridge when Susan Turzanski heard the phone go dead. Susan Turzanski declined to speak to a reporter Saturday.

Turzanski's aunt, Patti Klapshar, called her a ''fun, beautiful girl with a lot of friends.'' She said, ''She loved going out and hanging out with her friends.''

Turzanski, of Blossom Lane, worked at Maryland Fried Chicken in Bethlehem for the past two years and planned to study restaurant and hotel management at Northampton Community College after her anticipated graduation from Liberty in June, Klapshar said.

She was supposed to work an evening shift at the fast food restaurant on Stefko Boulevard on Saturday, said manager Gary Jacoby. Co-worker Megan Fox described Turzanski as strong-willed and opinionated.

''She would fight for what she believed in,'' Fox said.

Turzanski and Davis shared a love of shopping, hip-hop music and going out, according to their family, friends and co-workers.

Davis had been working for three years as a waitress at Atria Senior Living in Bethlehem and planned to become a dental hygienist.

''She was committed to serving our residents ,'' said Renee Martini, of Atria's human resources department .

The teen's siblings, Kendra Davis, 23, Phuquan Duggan, 14, wiped away tears as they described their sister.

Kendra Davis recalled how her younger sister loved the color pink and played up a pink motif in her bedroom. She liked to listen to Lil' Wayne and sing in the shower -- badly, her sister said. And she loved studying French at Liberty High School, where she also was a cheerleader, member of the Key Club, Students Against Drunk Driving, and the Take Action Club, which raised money for victims of national tragedies like Hurricane Katrina.

Liberty Principal Joann Durante was making arrangements Saturday for grief counseling for students. ''It's going to be a very difficult Monday ,'' she said. ''It's a major loss for the Liberty High School community.''

A viewing for Davis will be held from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Pearson Funeral Home in Bethlehem, followed by a service.

A service will be held for Turzanski at St. Peter and Paul's Byzantine Catholic Church, Klapshar said.