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Woman Killed, main maimed on Route 1

The two were from different worlds, tens of thousands of miles apart. They came to America for a better life.

But their coincidental meeting on Route 1 in Middletown ended in tragedy early Friday morning.

A Russian man's legs were severed and a Guatemalan woman he was helping change a flat tire was killed after a car slammed into the woman's disabled vehicle at 2:37 a.m.

Reyna Castro, 27, of Trenton was driving southbound on the highway when the driver's side front tire suddenly went flat on her 1997 Nissan Altima. She had nowhere to pull over because there is no shoulder there, said Middletown police Officer Michael Lubold, who is investigating the accident.

Michael Kogan, 27, also was traveling south with a passenger, Aleksei Brodsky, 51, when the Bensalem men spotted the woman standing outside the vehicle, police said.

"Instead of pulling his car behind hers, [Kogan] pulled his car in front of hers and got out. She was standing behind her car with the trunk open trying to get her spare tire out. Kogan was standing behind his car, also trying to retrieve things from the trunk to help Castro," Lubold said.

That's when a 2006 Hyundai Sonata, with Denis M. Hostler behind the wheel, slammed into Castro while traveling at least 70 mph in the 55 mph zone, Lubold said. The force was so great that Castro's car was pushed into Kogan's, pinning the Good Samaritan's entire lower body between the two vehicles, Lubold said.

Lubold said there were no skid marks prior to impact, meaning Hostler never hit the brake pedal.

Lubold said an autopsy shows Castro died instantly of massive injuries. Kogan was rushed by the Bensalem Rescue Squad to St. Mary Medical Center in very critical condition. Lubold said Kogan has lost both his legs.

Brodsky, who also was standing outside, was injured when struck by Castro's car. His injuries are not as serious as Kogan's, Lubold said.

Wert said the incident remains under investigation. He could not say if charges would be filed against Hostler of Lincoln Drive in Ambler, whose age was unknown.

Advertisement Lubold said the accident was especially difficult to investigate due to a language barrier. He said Castro is in the country legally and works in Princeton. He said she was traveling possibly to Philadelphia to visit her boyfriend. Lubold said she had several children with another man.

Hostler was taken to St. Mary Medical Center for observation. He was treated and released. Lubold said both blood and urine samples were taken.

The Parkland Fire Co. assisted throughout the morning. Route 1 was closed in both directions from 3 a.m. until 7 a.m. Middletown police are asking anyone with information about the crash to contact them at 215-750-3845, ext. 253.

Middletown Interim Director of Public Safety Pat McGinty was angered by the horrific crash.

"We have tried to work with PennDOT to get that section of Route 1 designated as a safety corridor, which means anyone stopped speeding would get double the fines. It is ridiculous, they are traveling 80 mph along there. It is impossible to stop them all for speeding, but something has to be done," he said.

Wert said it would have been another quarter mile before Castro could have made it to the access road to Old Lincoln Highway.

This accident comes just a few months after Middletown police lost one of their own, Officer Chris Jones, in a similar accident. Jones was killed Jan. 29, as he was getting back in his patrol car and it was hit from behind by another vehicle. Jones car was parked on a narrow part of the shoulder in the northbound lanes of Route 1, just a few miles from the scene of Friday's grisly crash.

Lubold urged any motorists who get a flat tire to drive until the wheel is scraping the highway, if there is no shoulder.

"She had nowhere to go, but if she had driven another quarter mile, she could have made it to the access road for Old Lincoln Highway. This is just a terrible tragedy. I urge everyone to not risk their lives or that of others and drive to the nearest shoulder. A tire and wheel aren't worth your life."

Woman killed, "Good Samaritan" hurt in Route 1 accident

A "Good Samaritan" was driving along the southbound Route 1 superhighway early this morning when he spotted a disabled car in the right lane near the Neshaminy High School exit in Middletown, police said. He stopped to help the woman in the disabled vehicle. But instead, she was killed and he is fighting for his life after losing at least one leg when their two vehicles were slammed into by another car. The man driving the third vehicle is identified as Denis M. Hostler of Lincoln drive, ambler, Middletown police said. The horrific scene unfolded at 2:37 am. When the woman, who has not been identified, stopped her silver 1997 Nissan Altima in the right lane of the highway due to a flat tire, said Middletown Sgt. Mark Wert. The Good Samaritan, whose name has not been released, is in serious condition at St. Mary medical center in Middletown, police said. Hostler also was taken to St. Mary medical center for observation. Route 1 was closed in both directions from 3 a.m. Until 7 a.m. For the crash investigation. Police are trying to determine if alcohol played a role in the accident, wert said.

Accident Scene Images

LOCAL NEWS - CHANNEL 6 ABC Michael Kogan - Accident Scene Michael Kogan - Accident Scene Michael Kogan - Accident Scene
Michael Kogan - Accident Scene Michael Kogan - Accident Scene