Vigil for Young Victims of Interstate 80 Crash

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MOUNT POCONO -- Dozens of people gathered in Monroe County Sunday evening to remember the two children who were killed in a crash on Interstate 80 a little more than a week ago.

It's a school night, but that wasn't going to stop dozens of students from Pocono Mountain West Junior High School from coming out for a vigil to remember the Rutkowskis.

14-year-old Andrea Rutkowski and 12-year-old Sammy Rutkowski died after a crash a little more than a week ago. Their older sister Michelle is still recovering in the hospital along with their parents.

"When I first heard the news, I didn't want to believe it. I saw it all over my social media, and I didn't want to believe any of it," said eighth grader Jennifer Ball.

According to the Monroe County coroner, a man from Allentown was driving a box truck east on Interstate 80 near Tannersville on November 18 when he crossed into the westbound lanes. He hit the Rutkowski's car. Sammy died at the scene and Andrea died shortly thereafter at the hospital. The parents were badly hurt along with 16-year-old Michelle and were rushed to the hospital. The driver of the box truck died at the scene as well.

Lisa Alvarado was Andrea's cheerleading coach.

"Emotions are running high. A lot of them are upset, and at this age, it's hard to see them that upset," Alvarado said.

"She was always at practice and now she's not there. It's kind of like she's on vacation and we think she's coming back, but she's not coming back," eighth grader Julia Rogers said.

Lisa Greeley is a good friend of Michelle Rutkowski, who has spent the past week dealing with surgeries and recovering. The two were able to catch up on Thanksgiving.

"We brought her a milkshake, and she drank it. She was smiling, and she was happy, and she was able to talk to us. She's doing well," Greeley said.

For these students, they say the next step is taking things one day at a time, dealing with the grief as it comes.


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