FORT WORTH — Like most teenagers, 17-year-old Josh Kaluzniak was excited to go to a haunted house. So on Saturday night, he took his mother and one of his best friends out for a night of fun.
All was well until 2 a.m., when — as they were headed back home to Grandview in Johnson County — Josh came across an accident on Interstate 35W and Rosedale Street on the south side of Fort Worth.
Family members said Josh decided to get out and help strangers in trouble, but was struck by a car and thrown across a guardrail to the street 17 feet below.
He died instantly.
"He was an amazing kid," said Josh's tearful dad, Donald Wayne Kaluzniak. "He did anything for anybody, anytime — it didn't matter to him."
Josh, a 6'-5" Grandview High School senior, had a reputation for being a Good Samaritan. Best friend Mackenzie Evans said she's not surprised to learn about his final act of kindness. She just wishes it was all a dream.
"He was just like my big brother," Mackenzie said with her eyes full of tears. "I claimed him as my big brother, even though it wasn't biologic."
Kaluzniak's family said Josh had just left the Cutting Edge haunted house at 1701 East Lancaster Avenue when he, his mother, and his best friend drove up to an accident scene along I-35W. Family friend John Morrison said Josh got out to help the victims because none of the other onlookers would.
"He was helping a kid like it was in school... someone on the highway... he was driving... got out... see what was wrong... intentions of helping," Johnson said. "Just tragic".
At the same time, Fort Worth police said a suspected drunk driver approached the scene in a black Lexus sedan, striking Josh. The impact tossed Josh over the guardrail to Rosedale Street below. Police could not confirm that he was then hit by another vehicle.
Mackenzie said Josh's mother watched it all unfold in horror.
"They saw it; they saw him get struck," she said.
The gentle giant and devout Christian who loved spending time with family; who helped raise his nieces; and who recently made a big turnaround in school and made plans to enlist in the Marines was killed.
"He was a super kid. This man did a hell of a job raising him and teaching him the right way," said a family friend who did not want to be identified.
"Life is so special and fragile, and it can be gone in an instant," long time family friend Kelly Evans added. "But you have to look and see what is left when its over with."
Funeral arrangements for Josh Kaluzniak have not been finalized.
Fort Worth police identified the driver of the black Lexus that hit him as Roland Wilfred Directo Jr., 43. He arrested on suspicion of DWI and faces charges of intoxication manslaughter.