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Marine, PA Dad Of Three, Dies After Climbing On Tractor-Trailer On Christmas Day

Paul Donnelly.
Paul Donnelly. Photo Credit: Facebook/Paul Donnelly

A Marine, registered nurse, and father of three from Ephrata died after climbing onto the underside of the chassis of a truck between the trailer and the tractor, authorities announced on Wednesday, Jan. 4. 

Video footage revealed how 39-year-old Paul Donnelly climbed "onto a tractor trailer truck and lie down on the chassis between the cab and the trailer while it was stopped at an intersection in Ephrata Borough" on  December 25, 2022 at approximately 12:25 a.m., the Eprata police stated in the release.

He then "held onto the underside of the chassis upside down as the truck pulled away and out of camera view from the intersection" and approximately 55 seconds later the truck drove past Martin Avenue where he was"dislodged from the truck, ultimately causing his fatal injuries. No charges are being filed in this case."

An Ephrata police officer found him laying on the road at 12:29 a.m., according to the original release on Dec. 27, 2022. 

EMS responded and provided care but he died at the scene. The coroner’s office determined that Donnelly died from blunt impact trauma. 

Donnelly was born in Paisley, Scotland to Gerald and Jane (Rogan) Donnelly.

He "enjoyed hiking, camping, and sitting around a nice campfire with his kids and his dogs," as written in this obituary. 

He was a graduate of Exeter High School Class of 2001, with an Associate Degree from Harrisburg Area Community College. He worked as a registered nurse (RN) for several hospitals and other care facilities, including; Lancaster Regional Medical Center, Ephrata Community Hospital and Hershey Medical Center after he served in the a Marine from 2001 until 2007, according to his obituary. 

Donnelly "enjoyed hanging out with his military buddies. Paul was an avid Marvel and Star Wars collector, and Halloween was his favorite holiday," as stated in his obituary. 

In addition to his parents, he is survived by grandmother, Maisie Maltman; three children; sister, Laura, wife of Cole Barnett, brother, Kevin Donnelly, husband of Mariana.

He was preceded in death by maternal grandparents, Patrick Rogan and Jane Rogan.

His funeral was held on Wednesday, January 4, 2023, from 3:00 to 6:00 PM at the Roseboro Stradling Funeral Home, 533 Walnut St., Denver. 

Those paying their respects were asked to come wearing "Marvel, Star Wars or any other shirts that remind you of Paul."

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to K9s for Warriors,, 114 Camp K9 Rd., Ponte Vedra, FL 32018.

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