Fence not required at site of boy's fatal I-83 dirt bike crash

Christopher Dornblaser
  • A PennDOT spokesman said Thursday that the department is not required to place fences near a home that abuts I-83.
  • A 6-year-old boy drove into the roadway with his dirt bike Tuesday and was fatally struck by a truck.
  • The family says it would be nice if PennDOT placed a fence, but the spokesman said there aren't any plans to.

There was nothing to stop a 6-year-old Fairview Township boy from riding his dirt bike onto Interstate 83, where he was struck and killed Tuesday.

No fence separates Lynn Baker's yard from Interstate 83 in Fairview Township. Baker's grandson, Bryce Treichler, 6, was killed Tuesday when he rode his minibike onto the interstate and was struck by a car. Thursday, July 6, 2017. John A. Pavoncello photo

That’s unusual, a PennDOT spokesman acknowledged Thursday.

“Usually there's right-of-way fencing along the interstate," Greg Penny said. "But it’s not a requirement.”

On Tuesday, the boy was riding his dirt bike at his Lincoln Drive home, which abuts I-83 near mile marker 38.5, when he lost control and rode onto the interstate, where he was struck by a pickup truck.

Fencing: On Thursday, Penny said typically the fencing is placed to establish a boundary between the state's property and the adjoining private property.

He speculated that a fence was not installed because there is an embankment on the property, which created a boundary.

"Had it been leveled land, there more than likely would have been right-of-way fences,” Penny said.

Penny said each time there is a major project done to a portion of the interstate, PennDOT looks over where fences might need to be added. The last major update to that area of the interstate was 1994, he said.

Bryce James Treichler

Penny said there are no current plans for any major projects in that area.

Grandmother calls boy's death on I-83 'freak accident'

“I think most of our work for 83 is further to the south," he said.

Lynn Baker, Bryce's grandmother, said the family has never had a fence near the interstate that abuts the property. She said it would be nice if PennDOT placed a fence there now.

However, that doesn't seem to be likely.

“There are no plans to place right-of-way fencing through that area,” Penny said.

On Wednesday, Baker said her mother has lived in the home for 58 years and has had many children play in the yard. None of them had ever gone onto the interstate.

She said "never in a million years" would she have thought something like this would have happened.

Background: Bryce was riding a dirt bike outside the home about 5 p.m. Tuesday when he rode onto Interstate 83 and into oncoming northbound traffic near the Reesers Summit exit, according to the York County Coroner's Office.

He was struck by a 2006 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck driven by a 72-year-old man from Grantville, Dauphin County, state police spokesman Trooper Brent Miller said.

Miller said the boy was riding a 2015 50cc Yamaha minibike with training wheels.

Baker said Bryce was riding his dirt bike in the yard when he drove onto the interstate.

"It just lost control," she said.

She said her grandson lived with her at the home with his father and two siblings. Baker and her mother live at the home as well.

Baker said she and Bryce's father, James Treichler, were working that day, and that her mother — Bryce's great-grandmother — was watching the three kids when Bryce went onto the interstate.

Baker said Bryce had gotten the bike for Christmas and that he was always careful with it.

Bryce died of his injuries, according to the coroner's office, which has ruled his death an accident. No autopsy is planned.

Baker recalled her grandson as someone who was "fun-loving" and "very energetic."

"He was just full of life," she said.

Bryce was about to enter second grade at Hillside Elementary School.

GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family cover funeral expenses. As of about 3 p.m. Thursday, more than $6,000 had been raised.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.