Andrew Wrobel loved being on the road — whether it was around Harsens Island, Mich., where he lived, or across the country.
He was a long-distance truck driver for more than 30 years, said his daughter Alexandra.
“He just loved to drive. He’s always loved being a trucker,” said Alexandra Wrobel, a biologist, of Ashland, Wis.
The 64-year-old dad of Angela, Rob, Christen, Alexandra, Anna and James and husband of Susan died unexpectedly on Feb. 26, surrounded by his family, in Altoona, more than 400 miles from home.
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Three days earlier, he was seriously injured in a hit-and-run on Interstate 80 in Pine Township, Clearfield County, as he set up emergency portable devices behind his vehicle, according to a state police report.
He was stopping for the night on the berm of the on-ramp at mile marker 111. He was struck by an unknown motorist, who then failed to stop at the scene, the police report said.
Wrobel was transported to the Altoona emergency room by medical helicopter, the report said.
The next few days Wrobel underwent a series of emergency procedures, Alexandra Wrobel said. Most of his injuries were trauma to the head.
The family opted not to have an autopsy performed so that Wrobel’s organs could be donated, Alexandra Wrobel said, adding that his liver and kidneys were successfully donated.
“That’s the positive we’re hanging on to,” she said.
“He loved the road and seeing the country, but most of all he loved all the new people he would meet every single day. He was a humble but not shy man who always lent an ear but was happy to talk one off as well,” his obituary said. “Ever the big kid at heart, he loved spending time with his grandkids and his dogs. It wasn’t a rare sight to see him and his Weimaraner, Ollie, cruising the Island just to deliver friendly ‘hellos.’ This man (and) best friend duo were famous daily for either their good cheer or being a good-natured nuisance.”
The identity of the driver who struck Wrobel is still unknown, and there were no witnesses, state police said. The investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information is asked to contact state police at 857-3800.
Alexandra Wrobel said she isn’t sure how much closure the family could actually get from finding out who hit him — a person can’t be replaced.
“I would just hope that they would do the right thing is all I can say. We don’t want to focus on the hatred,” she said. “We want to just focus on mourning the loss and the families that were able to get more time with their loved ones from his organs.”