By Brandon Scalea
A Rider employee and his wife were killed in an automobile accident in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, on April 10.
David Sochalski, 30, heating, ventilation and air conditioning mechanic in the Facilities Management Department, and his wife, Carmine, 42, died as a result of the accident. There was another passenger in the backseat — Carmine’s brother, Luis Mendez — who was injured and released from St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne, Pennsylvania on April 12. Mendez works for Cushman and Wakefield, formerly Unicco, at Westminster Choir College on Rider’s Princeton campus.
The funeral service for both will be held on April 16 at 1 p.m. at the James J. Dougherty Funeral Home, Inc., 2200 Trenton Road, Levittown, Pennsylvania.
Mike Reca, associate vice president of Facilities and Auxiliary Services, expressed the grief that he shares with everyone who knew Sochalski and his family.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague,” Reca said. “He was a valuable worker, but most importantly, he was a friend. I’d also like to offer my condolences to his mother and the entire family in this very difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
David’s mother, Michele Sochalski, also works at Rider. She is the business coordinator in the Office of Information Technology.
Around 2 a.m., the couple, both residents of Bensalem, Pennsylvania, were traveling southbound on Route 1 between the Oxford Valley and Route 13 exits. A vehicle driving on the wrong side of the road hit them head-on, according to the accident’s lead investigator, Officer Stephanie Metterle of the Falls Township Police Department.
The impact caused one of the cars to flip over the concrete median into the northbound lane, where it struck a disabled vehicle that was parked on the shoulder. The passengers of the third car were a 26-year-old couple from Bristol, Pennsylvania. The female passenger is eight-months pregnant, and she and her child, as well as her companion, are expected to make full recoveries.
Shortly after the accident, Sochalski and his wife were pronounced dead at St. Mary.
According to Metterle, the investigation is still in its preliminary stages and a search warrant has not yet been issued. Because of the nature of the accident, LevittownNow.com reported that it is believed that drugs and alcohol played a role.
The driver of the car going the wrong way was 35-year-old Alexander Skroumbelos of Trenton. He is being treated for serious injuries at St. Mary, and authorities have not yet spoken with him or charged him with anything.
Sochalski and his wife leave behind a son named Garrison who will turn 2 in May, as well as a Rider community that will miss them dearly.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Garrison Sochalski’s educational account, payable to PNC Bank, 91 Oxford Valley Road, Yardley, Pennsylvania 19067. Rider’s Facilities Management Department has also set up a GoFundMe page to support Sochalski’s family.
Donations for Sochalski’s family can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/DaveSochalski