Area couple killed in Route 41 wreck Sunday night

posted Tue, Nov 20, 2012


KENNETT — Two motorists were killed Sunday evening when a tractor-trailer broadsided an SUV on Route 41, state police said.

The incident occurred about 6:30 p.m. just north of the Delaware state line.

Pennsylvania State Police identified the victims as Matthew Petke, 39, of Wilmington, De., and Brenda Petke, 45, also of Wilmington, De.

The Chester County Coroner’s Office pronounced the pair dead at the scene.

Witnesses told police the SUV, operated by Matthew Petke, had just pulled out from the Taquersa Moroleon Restaurant in the 9100 block of Gap Newport Pike (Route 41) and was turning to go south on the busy highway when the northbound tractor-trailer from Delaware struck the vehicle.

The tractor-trailer driver, identified as John Deapen, 35, of New Bethlehem, Pa., was uninjured, police said.

The two-lane highway is straight and level in both directions near the restaurant. The speed limit is 45 mph.

The late-model Toyota Highlander was extensively damaged from the impact.

The collision ruptured a 100-gallon saddle tank of fuel on the tractor, covering the road with fuel. The tractor and the SUV were removed by Bittersdorf towing operators.

The road reopened shortly after 11 p.m. after the vehicles were removed and fuel spill was mopped up.

The two-lane highway was closed between McGovern Road in New Castle County, Del., and Limestone Road in Chester County for emergency service workers and police.

Emergency workers from Delaware and Pennsylvania rerouted traffic.

Avondale and Kennett fire departments and various medical units responded.

Staff reporter Michael Price contributed to this report.

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