Two from Schuylkill County Die in Lebanon County Wreck

UNION TOWNSHIP, LEBANON COUNTY -- Two people from Schuylkill County were killed in a crash in Lebanon County Thursday night.

The crash happened around 8:30 p.m. on Interstate 81 in Lebanon County, near Hershey.

State police have identified the victims as Haley Wetzel, 19, and her grandmother Julia Williams, 60, both of Pottsville.

Troopers say Wetzel was driving north when a tractor-trailer driver lost control of his rig, crossed the center median from the southbound lanes, and struck her vehicle.

The family, devastated by the loss of two of its members, is still in shock.

"I just wish this was not true. I wish that I had my baby here and my mom. It is going to be very rough on my family and I," said Haley Wetzel's mother Renee Wetzel.

Williams' husband Evan was at home at the time, waiting for the two to come back. He called police when he couldn't reach his wife.

"She said Schuylkill Haven State Police is dispatching a car out to see you and when they told me that I knew my granddaughter and wife were dead," said Williams.

Family members say Julia and Haley were coming back from a doctor's appointment in Hershey.

Haley was diagnosed with lupus at the age of 5. Her grandmother often went with her to appointments.

Julia Williams also had medical problems. She recently found out she had cancer and had a heart condition.

Through those illnesses, the family has a love for dirt track racing.

"Haley is a diehard dirt track racing fan. She loved the sport."

Racing was such a big part of their family, many of the people they've met through the years are hosting a race for them next month so that the proceeds can go toward their funerals.

"I'm going to miss them dearly and I don't know how I'm going to survive without them."

They're hoping their lost loved ones are remembered for their bright spirits.

"I want them to remember Haley and my mom as they were, the happy-go-lucky people that they were."

Troopers say they are still investigating and say it will be awhile before we find out if any charges will be filed.

8 comments

  • Melissa

    My heart is breaking for this family, to not only lose one member, but two. When my daughter was in a bad car accident, Haley and her grandmother were the first ones to visit her in ICU only a few hours after emergency surgery. The kindness and support of the two of them was amazing. Haley had a heart of gold and a beautiful spirit, very positive. despite everything she was going through herself, she was the first one there to comfort her friend. Renee and family, you will be in my prayers. God bless

  • commonsense

    Trucking companies are hurting for drivers. This is the result. They almost hire anyone these days to move freight.

  • Mad Dog

    I am getting so sick of hearing about these careless truck drivers. And furthermore, when is PennDOT going to address this situation and put some kind of barrier across the median? This happens on a regular basis anymore. It angers me to no end that two, innocent people, minding their own business are dead because of carelessness and stupidity. Don’t get a CDL and drive a truck if you can’t handle the responsibility.

    • Joe

      The truck blew a steering tire, it was beyond control, you half wit! It was just bad luck and bad karma for all the people Renee Wetzel ripped off

      • Melissa

        I agree that it may have been out of the truck drivers control, I do not place blame on the driver because I’m sure it wasn’t an intentional act. However, losing a mother and child is far worse than bad luck and karma… regardless of what she’s supposedly done to anyone… two innocent lives were lost and the truck driver will probably be scarred with guilt over this ACCIDENT…. now isn’t the time to degrade anyone involved, it’s a time to realize how quickly things can go wrong and pray for the healing of EVERYONE involved

    • Joe

      He blew a steering tire, you half wit. Interstates are for trucks, stay off the interstate if you don’t want to be involved when something goes wrong

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