Friends Since High School, Two Shared Horrible Final Moments Nicholas Litterio, 22, Was Hitching A Ride Home To East Stroudsburg With Jonas Millard, 21. They Died In Monday's Fiery Schuylkill Pileup.

Posted: September 28, 2000

When Nicholas Litterio wasn't in his room Monday morning, his parents weren't concerned. He was 22 and had spent the weekend in Philadelphia with friends. Perhaps he and his buddy, Jonas Millard, had stayed over Sunday night.

Litterio, thought his stepfather, Donald Chamberlin, might even have gone straight to his early class at East Stroudsburg University.

As the hours wore on and he didn't answer a page, however, the worrying began. About noon, his mother, Mary Chamberlin, asked her boss to call a friend at the state police. Four hours later came the horrifying news.

Police believed that Litterio and Millard, 21, friends since East Stroudsburg High School, were the two men whose charred bodies were found in a truck rear-ended as part of a 13-vehicle, chain-reaction accident that took place early Monday on the Schuylkill Expressway.

Yesterday, after receiving the dental records of the men who lived in East Stroudsburg, Bradford County, the Montgomery County medical examiner formally identified them.

Also killed in the crash was Tiffaney Davies, 20, of Mount Laurel, Burlington County, a junior at Chestnut Hill College and a graduate of Camden Catholic High School.

Litterio and Millard died when their pickup truck, which belonged to Millard's father, was set ablaze as it was hit by a tractor-trailer. The impact pushed the pickup into Davies' Hyundai, which also burst into flames. All three were trapped inside.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Walter Seifert, 64, of Groton, Mass., escaped injury by jumping from his burning cab.

Family members of Litterio and Millard said yesterday that they had not been aware of the crash until Monday afternoon.

Stephanie Millard said her son had been returning from dropping off his girlfriend at the Philadelphia Institute of Art. Litterio, according to his stepfather, had hitched a ride to Drexel University with another friend and arranged to return with Millard.

About 4 p.m. Monday, Mary Chamberlin, having learned what had happened, called her husband at work.

"She said Nick had been in a terrible accident and was probably dead," Donald Chamberlin said. "I got home before she did. The state police got here about 4:30. They said they were able to identify the vehicle and they'd contacted [Millard's] father.

"The father needed his truck back that morning and called somebody else to find out who Jonas was driving with, and that's how they knew about Nick."

Davies had been returning to school after a weekend in which she had seen her boyfriend, attended Mass at home, gone to the movies with her mother, and checked out the Worldwide Wrestling Federation exhibition Sunday night at the First Union Center with a friend.

"She was a big fan of the Rock, and she loved Triple H," said Rocco Maiorano, referring to two popular wrestlers.

Maiorano, 20, a student at Hofstra University on Long Island, had been her boyfriend for two years.

After the matches, Davies and her friend drove back to New Jersey, where Davies got her car and turned back toward Philadelphia.

Maiorano said she called him from the car about 11:45 Sunday night. It was their habit, he said, to phone one another every night before going to bed. Davies told him that she'd call him again when she got to school.

That call never came.

According to Maiorano, Davies phoned another friend from her car and the two were talking when the crash occurred. Some time after the line went dead, the friend called Davies' roommate, who said Davies hadn't made it back.

Later, the friend told Maiorano that Davies had been in an accident and couldn't be found. Maiorano took a train from New York to Philadelphia to help with the search.

As he and the friend pulled out of 30th Street Station, the cell phone rang. It was another pal.

"She said, 'Did Tiffaney's mom call you?' " Maiorano recalled. "It was one of those things where a chill went up and down my spine. Then she told me Tiffaney was one of the ones who'd died."

State police said the crash, shortly after midnight Sunday, occurred after two minor accidents about a quarter-mile east of the Conshohocken exit had backed up traffic for about three-quarters of a mile.

Millard's pickup truck, state police said, was the first one hit. Then one vehicle plowed into another until 13 had been involved.

Seifert told investigators that he had not had enough time to stop. The tractor-trailer, carrying 18,000 pounds of soy products, had been rented from AMI Leasing of Worcester, Mass., by another motor carrier. Seifert was not employed by AMI, an official of the firm said yesterday.

* Funeral arrangements for Tiffaney Davies are being handled by the Bradley Funeral Home, Route 73 and Evesham Road, Marlton, Burlington County.

Friends may call Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m. and Monday from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the funeral home. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. in the St. Joan of Arc Roman Catholic Church, Willow Bend and Evans Roads, Marlton. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery in Cherry Hill.

Services for Nicholas Litterio, which will be held Saturday, are being handled by the Bolock Funeral Home of Paradise Valley.

Services for Jonas Millard will be held Monday and are being handled by Lanterman & Allen Funeral Home of East Stroudsburg.

Ralph Vigoda's e-mail address is rvigoda@phillynews.com

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