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Hero trucker succumbs to wounds sustained in rescue attempt

A truck driver attempting to rescue a fellow trucker at the scene of a fiery truck crash recently succumbed to injuries he sustained in the March 13 incident on the Indiana Toll Road in Joseph County, IN.

Donald Duncan Jr., 58, stopped at the scene of a two-truck accident and sustained fatal burns and injuries attempting to rescue a fellow driver from the burning cab of his rig. Unknown to Duncan, the other driver had already fled the fiery cab before Duncan arrived at the scene, according to a report in the York Dispatch.

The accident occurred at about 3:54 a.m. when a westbound tractor-trailer driven by Harish Kumar of California was in the process of overtaking another tractor-trailer driven by Keith Kloss, according to Indiana State Police.

When Kumar swerved his rig in front of Kloss’ and ran off the highway, Kloss’ tractor-trailer hit Kumar’s trailer and burst into flames, police said.

Duncan, who was also driving west, stopped to help and rushed to the passenger side of Kloss’ tractor in an attempt to help rescue him when an explosion knocked Duncan to the ground. Unbeknownst to Duncan, Kloss had already been able to extricate himself from the cab.

Duncan, of McConnellsburg, Fulton County, PA, suffered severe burns and injuries in the explosion and was first taken to a local hospital, then transferred to a Kalmazoo, MI, burn unit where he died on April 29.

Kloss suffered facial lacerations and broken ribs in the crash and Kumar was not injured, according to police. Police said Kumar could have been fatigued at the time of the crash because he had driven four to five hours over his allowed time.

A veteran trucker for 42 years, Duncan was most recently employed by TDI/Harley-Davidson in Springettsbury Township, PA.

Audrey Duncan, his wife of 25 years, told the Dispatch she wasn’t surprised that her husband stopped that fateful morning in Indiana to help two fellow truck drivers.

“That’s just the type of person he was,” she said. “When it comes to truck drivers, they look out for each other.”

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