W. Norriton man killed in crash that shut down turnpike

Posted: October 23, 2012

A 12-year maintenance employee of the Pennsylvania Turnpike was killed Monday in an accident that shut down eastbound lanes of the toll road between Norristown and Valley Forge for most of the day.

Killed was Michael San Felice, 66, of West Norriton, a Vietnam War veteran and a director with the Jefferson Fire Company since 1985.

The accident, which hospitalized two of San Felice's coworkers, occurred about 8:30 a.m. in the eastbound lanes, when a box truck struck a turnpike maintenance vehicle and then flipped onto its side.

State police were investigating where San Felice was in relation to his maintenance dump truck when struck, turnpike spokesman Bill Capone said.

The westbound lanes were closed a short while to allow a medical helicopter to land, Capone said, but the eastbound lanes were not reopened until 4:12 p.m.

State Rep. Mike Vereb (R., Montgomery County), in a press release, called San Felice "a selfless man."

San Felice was "a strong leader and a dear friend. Mike will be greatly missed and our hearts go out to the family as this trying time," Vereb said.

A family friend, who answered the phone at the San Felice residence, read the Vereb statement and said family members were not available for comment.

San Felice is survived by his wife of 43 years, Kathleen; daughters Joyce Ronan and her husband, Jerry, and Monica Spataccino and her husband John; and three grandchildren. Funeral arrangements were pending.

San Felice served for two years in the Army, with a one-year tour of Vietnam in 1966, and earned several citations, including the Vietnam campaign medal, according to Vereb.

San Felice was a member of the Frank C. Parker Jr. & Son American Legion Post 901 and the West Norriton Civil Service Commission.

Before joining the Turnpike Commission, he had worked for the Case Equipment Co. in Montgomeryville, Vereb said.

The two coworkers of San Felice's who were injured at the scene were taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Capone said. He did not know their conditions.

Contact Walter F. Naedele at wnaedele@phillynews.com or at 610-313-8134.

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