Almost since birth, identical twins Thomas and Timothy Willgruber have been inseparable. Even at 56 years old, the Allentown men rarely went a day with talking.
That closeness only makes it more difficult for the Willgruber family to cope with the fact that Thomas was killed Saturday when he was hit by the minivan driven by his brother.
According to Bethlehem Police, Thomas was outside the car, helping his brother parallel park, when Timothy lost control and pinned him against another vehicle.
Police say alcohol was involved, but Timothy Willgruber has not been charged, pending the results of blood-alcohol tests.
''They were so close, like best friends,'' said Thomas Willgruber's wife of 26 years, Nancy, as she was overcome by emotion. ''They talked to each other every day, they didn't need a reason. They just talked about life.''
Thomas, a door-to-door salesman who graduated from Allentown Central Catholic in 1972, was described as the consummate family man who doted on this daughters, liked to cheer people up by making them laugh, and often called friends just to brighten their day. Timothy was the bachelor, always there for his brother to share in his love for music or visit NASCAR events with him.
So it was not a surprise that the two set out together Saturday to watch the Showing of the Tartan Parade at the Celtic Classic Festival in Bethlehem.
Timothy was driving, and his brother got out of the minivan about noon to help him park in the 600 block of Guetter Street. Police still aren't sure how, but as he parked, Timothy pinned his brother against a sport utility vehicle at the back of the parking space.
Thomas Willgruber, of the 100 block of Franklin Street, was taken to St. Luke's Hospital-Fountain Hill, where he was pronounced dead about 8 p.m., according to the Lehigh County Coroner's Office.
Timothy Willgruber failed a field sobriety test and police are still awaiting the results of a blood-alcohol tests to determine whether he will be charged with drunken driving.
Police are considering other charges against Timothy Willgruber.
''Alcohol played a role, but how much, we don't know,'' said Bethlehem police Capt. Dave Kravatz.
Nancy Willgruber said the family is focusing on the loss, not the circumstances surrounding it.
''It was a freak accident,'' she said. ''It's already a tough situation. It's not the right time to worry about blame.''