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Man crushed to death while working on van

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LIMESTONE TOWNSHIP, LYCOMING COUNTY (WOLF) -- The coroner says a Lycoming County man is dead following a car repair project.

Authorities say a jack shifted and the vehicle he was working on fell on top of him. We have more on the tragic mishap that has family and friends grieving.

Firefighters say the man was working on his minivan, and had taken the front tire off on the passenger side to make repairs, when one of two jacks he was using kicked out, and the van landed on top of him.

David Eck, 62, died after the jack sank into the ground, causing the van to shift and drop onto him, coroner Charles Kiessling Jr. said in a statement.

"Terrible, just I can't accept it. It's hard to even think about it," says neighbor Donna Dincher.

"The rescue trucks come up here and blowing the sirens and we thought, since he has that handicapped boy out there, we thought maybe it was the boy," says neighbor Lee Rauch. "But then, we found out later on that it was Dave himself."

A "scissor jack," which is the type that comes with your car to change a tire, had kicked out at Eck's home on Pleasant Hill Lane, Nippenose Valley assistant fire chief Jeff Stabley said.

Another "floor jack," which is a larger garage type, that Eck was using was too low to help at the time, and the weight of the vehicle pinned him and stopped him from being able to breathe, Stabley said.

It's unclear how long he'd been under the van. Stabley says Eck's girlfriend last talked to him about 40 minutes before spotting him around 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Stabley says they used Eck's jacks to lift the vehicle in about four minutes, but it was already too late. Dincher has known him for a while.

"For a good many years, at least 25," says Dincher. "Dave was a good guy.... always happy-go-lucky."

"He was always smiling, don't matter what his problems was, he seemed to be always smiling," says Rauch.

So what can be done to prevent an accident like this? The firefighter and a tow truck operator we talked to both say "jack stands," such as ones we got a photo of, are a needed back-up safety device for anyone working under cars.

The tow operator also notes many garages put cars up on lifts to look underneath, or use other machines along with jacks.

Meantime, at the Limestone Township building, people at a Little League meeting remembered Eck as being a Little League coach for about 10 years, before his kids grew up.

"He had quite a few animals out there. He had chickens and guineas and turkeys and he'd come here and his girlfriend and visit us quite a bit," says Rauch.

"Everyone is hoping and praying for the family," says Dincher.

It’s important to note that jack stands, which the firefighter recommended, don’t typically come with your jack. You need to buy them separately.

Eck's cause of death was listed as mechanical asphyxiation and he was pronounced dead at the scene, Kiesling said. Jersey Shore EMS also responded to the home.

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