Man recounts Reading accident victim's final moments

The bridge of death

READING, Pa. - Police are investigating a fatal crash that took the life of a father and left his 7-year-old stepdaughter in the hospital.

The head-on collision occurred on the Bingaman Street Bridge around 3:30 Wednesday afternoon.

Lance Quiñones, 24, from Reading died at the scene, and his stepdaughter was rushed to the hospital, officials said.

But it turns out Quiñones was not alone during his last minutes.

A witness, Miguel Castillo, said he stood by Quiñones until the end.

"I saw that he had Yankee tattoos on him, and I said I'm a Yankee's fan, too. You know, just make it for your daughter," said Castillo.

Police say witnesses told them that a grey BMW crossed the double yellow line into oncoming traffic, and crashed head on with Quiñones' Honda.

The driver of the BMW was taken to the hospital with severe leg injuries.

Tim Heist, another witness, was driving a yellow van and tried to swerve out of the way.

"It was horrific. I just couldn't believe what I was seeing," said Heist. "It was terrible."

Just last year the Bingaman Street Bridge was the site of a similar accident involving a police cruiser.

"That's the first thing I thought of when I pulled up and saw what happened," said Lt. David Shilling, Reading Police Department. "It was almost the exact same scenario."

Some residents say the area is notorious for car accidents and are demanding change.

"The bridge of death, this is like the second time," said Walter Marrero, a neighbor who lives by the bridge and says speeders coming off the bridge have crashed into his home several times. "What they need is a stop sign or a stop light."

But police say careless drivers are the problem, not the bridge.

"The bridge itself is not inherently dangerous, it's the way you drive on it," said Lt. Shilling. "The bridge has been here a long time. Everything is clearly marked."

But for Castillo, regardless of any changes that may come to the bridge, he says he will never forget this day.

"I was there for [the victim]. Trying to keep him alive. As much as I can. I know he went peaceful knowing his daughter made it. I made sure he knew that."

Police are asking anyone with information who was on the bridge, or even in the vicinity of the bridge, at or near the time of the fatal accident, to call police immediately. 

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