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Police Say Hitchhiker Stabbed Driver

TAMAQUA — Police describe a case of a good samaritan winding up in a hospital after trying to help a stranger.

It was on Route 309 between Tamaqua and Hometown where police say the crime played out. Authorities say Joe Connell, 52, of Tamaqua picked up a hitchhiker and before it was over, Connell was injured and in a hospital and his attacker had run off.

According to police, Joe Connell picked up the hitchhiker and brought him to an area a mile away from the original location. The hitchhiker said he wanted to go further north, and that’s when he pulled out a knife and stabbed Connell in the neck.

Thorn Devlin’s family owns a business in the area where Connell picked up the man thumbing for a ride.

“It’s kind of scary because in this area we don’t have those kind of situations. What mentally makes someone do that to another person, no one can’t figure out that,” said Thorn Devlin, owner of Thorn’s Cycles and ATVs.

Some people say they won’t ever pick up a hitchhiker.

“I have seven children so I generally have a child in my car. You can’t take that risk you can’t risk it,” said Heidi Devlin of Thorn’s Cycles and ATVs.

Jo Anne Hill says she learned in the 60s about the dangers of looking for a ride.

“The gentleman locked all the doors and windows and I was unable to get out and that stopped me from hitchhiking and taught me a major lesson and I don’t pick up hitchhikers anymore,” said Jo Anne Hill of West Penn Township.

Jo Anne escaped. Her son says news of the stabbing is getting around.

“It’s crazy. I saw it on Facebook and my girlfriend and I were interested in it so my father heard about it and he wanted us to keep him updated,” said Jason Hill.

Rush Township Police are investigating and ask anyone with information to give them a call.


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