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Hilltown crash that killed former firefighter under investigation


A Sunday morning crash in Hilltown Township that killed a 35-year-old former Plumsteadville firefighter is being investigated by police and the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office, officials announced Thursday.

Joseph Kay died at the scene of the early morning accident at Green Street and Rickert Road when the Polaris off-road vehicle Kay was riding in flipped over as the driver fled from police, according to authorities.

Both passenger and driver were partially ejected from the off-road vehicle. The driver has not been identified.

At 1 a.m. June 2, a Hilltown police officer said he saw an unregistered vehicle on Mill Road and initiated a traffic stop after seeing the vehicle veer off the road, concerned the driver might be impaired.

The driver did not stop, fleeing down Green Street for about a half mile. While trying to make a right turn onto Rickert Road, the driver lost control and the vehicle flipped, officials said.

Kay’s death was caused by blunt force trauma, the Bucks County Coroner’s Office said. The driver complained of pain at the scene of the crash but reportedly refused medical treatment.

Kay’s family characterized the crash as an “unexpected, tragic, heartbreaking accident” that took his life on his wife Rachel’s 30th birthday.

“My sweet, full-of-life, perfect husband passed away in an accident last night,” wrote Rachel on social media. “I will never recover from this. I loved him for every minute I know him and will miss him for my entire life.”

Kay, a 2007 graduate of Central Bucks East High School, was an avid sprint car racer, racing in the Mid-Atlantic Sprint Series. The organization postponed its scheduled June 8 race.

On its Facebook page, the Plumsteadville Fire Company wrote, “It is with a heavy heart that the members of PVFC are sad to say that we have lost a friend and brother yesterday evening. Joe Kay will be forever missed; gone too soon, brother. Your firehouse family will always keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.”

Hundreds of comments on social media expressed profound sorrow over Kay’s death.

“To know Joey was to know love,” Andy Kiljanski, the fire company’s captain wrote. “He could light up an entire room with his infectious laugh, and loved his friends and family with everything he had. A kind, generous, compassionate, beautiful soul who will be immensely missed.”

A celebration of life will be held June 8 at Coleman Hay Farm in Chalfont. At the request of the family, those attending are asked not to wear suits or all-black clothing.

“We want to see the vibrancy of life that Joe embodied,” the family wrote.

To help his wife with financial responsibilities, a GoFundMe has been established. More than $87,000 had already been raised by 5 p.m. Thursday.

The vehicle should not have been operating on the road, according to authorities. Any charges will be filed at the appropriate time, the DA’s office said.

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