By Michelle Durham and Oren Liebermann
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — State police say a husband and wife were killed around 7 p.m. Sunday when the SUV they were driving in collided with a tractor trailer on Route 41 just north of the Delaware border in Chester County.
The victims of the crash have been identified as 39-year-old Matthew Petke and 45-year-old Brenda Petke of Wilmington, Delaware.
Family and friends say the couple were enjoying a night out at a restaurant after Brenda reached 20 years working for Bank of America. State police say the two left around 7 at night and pulled out in front of an oncoming truck. The truck hit the SUV on the driver’s side – the impact was too much to survive.
“It’s as if we just lost a huge part of our family,” said Linda Natati, who knew the Peske from their 300 member church, where Matt and Brenda taught Sunday School and volunteered. The two had intellectual disabilities, but Natali says they refused to let that get in their way.
“They were more involved and ready to assist anyone than most people who didn’t have the challenges they had,” she said.
Matt and Brenda didn’t have children. Instead, they took in a Golden Retriever named Reni from Canine Partners for Life 12 years ago – another organizaiton they volunteer with.
“She was their child – they dressed her up for Halloween and she got presents under the Christmas tree – she was everything to them,” said Natali.
The accident investigation still continues. No charges are expected to be filed against the driver of the tractor trailer.