Investigators are still attempting to put the pieces together of an early Christmas morning incident in which a man was found dead on an Ephrata street after possibly riding on a tractor trailer truck and then was run over.
An Ephrata Police officer came upon the scene of a person down on the roadway around 12:30 a.m. near the intersection of West Main Street and Martin Avenue in Ephrata Borough.
According to police:
The officer encountered a passing motorist who stopped to help render aid to the victim. EMS crews responded to the scene and provided care, but the victim died at the scene.
The victim was later identified as Paul Donnelly, 39, of Ephrata.
A witness to the incident said she was driving westbound in the 300 block of West Main Street in Ephrata following a tractor trailer truck when Donnelly appeared on the roadway after the truck passed through the intersection of Martin Avenue.
Police identified and located the truck and the driver a short distance from the scene of the incident. The truck driver said he didn’t notice anyone in the street or near the intersection as he passed through it and did not notice hitting anything.
Investigators examined the truck and trailer for evidence of a collision with a person, but no evidence of a collision was discovered.
Footage obtained from the dash camera of the truck corroborated the driver’s account of the incident, showing there were no pedestrians visible on the roadway, sidewalks or roadside as the truck approached and passed through the intersection. There was also no indication the truck struck anything from the footage.
Video footage from a nearby building showing the intersection from a different angle also yielded no indication that a pedestrian was on the road or sidewalks as the truck drove through the scene. As the truck left the intersection on the footage, Donnelly was seen lying on the roadway with the officer arriving about 30 seconds later.
Police said a preliminary investigation of the evidence shows that Donnelly may have been riding undetected on some part of the truck or trailer and either fell or jumped from the moving truck, resulting in his injuries.
The Lancaster County Coroner’s Office determined Donnelly died from blunt impact trauma and was accidental.
According to Donnelly’s obituary, he was born in Paisley, Scotland and was a 2001 graduate of Exeter High School in Berks County. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2001-07 and later worked as a registered nurse for several hospitals and other healthcare facilities, including Lancaster Regional Medical Center, Ephrata Community Hospital and Hershey Medical Center.
Police are still trying to determine how Donnelly came to rest in the roadway and where he may have possibly climbed onto the truck before the incident. Anyone who may have witnessed anything involved in the incident or may have home or vehicle footage from Christmas morning between 12-12:40 a.m. in the area of West Main Street at Martin Avenue or on West Main Street between the Ephrata square and Martin Avenue are asked to contact Sgt. Matthew Randolph at 717-738-9200 ext. 221.