Motorist Tries to Help Man in Wheelchair on Philadelphia Expressway; Both Struck and Killed

A man in a wheelchair and a motorist trying to help him were both struck and killed on a downtown expressway early Monday.

Joseph Kelly Sr. was driving eastbound in a minivan on the Vine Street Expressway shortly before 2 a.m. when he spotted a man in a wheelchair near an off-ramp, according to police.

Kelly, 55, pulled over on the shoulder and crossed over three lanes to help the man, who was apparently stuck facing traffic and heading in the wrong direction.

As Kelly pushed the wheelchair back toward the shoulder, another vehicle slowed to crawl in the center lane to avoid hitting them. But a pickup truck swerved to avoid the slowed vehicle, hit the median and ricocheted into the motorist pushing the wheelchair, killing both men instantly, police said.

Police said the man in the wheelchair was homeless and known to frequent the area; they were not immediately able to determine his name. Investigators did not know how he ended up on the expressway, a main thoroughfare through the city.

Accident investigators interviewed the driver of the pickup truck, but did not immediately file any charges in the accident Monday.