Those who knew the pair killed in a tragic one-vehicle accident early Saturday morning made frequent references to the special friendship the two young men shared.
Joseph Michael Bowland, 20, of McDonald, and Michael Dillon Gregg, 22, of Bulger, died Saturday in the Weirton Medical Center in West Virginia, after the vehicle they were both passengers in rolled over on Joffre Bulger Road in Smith Township.
“They were best friends,” said Mike Gregg, Michael Dillon Gregg’s father, “and there’s no doubt about that.”
The elder Gregg said his son, who went by his middle name, and Bowland had been best friends since childhood, schoolmates at Fort Cherry High School and roommates in the same Bulger trailer housing development. They were so close that the families of the two men have decided to have a double viewing and funeral procession.
“It’s what they would’ve wanted,” the elder Gregg said.
Their families will receive friends from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday in Nation Funeral Home, 220 East Lincoln Ave., McDonald. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Calvary Center of McDonald Presbyterian Church on West Lincoln Avenue.
Gregg and Bowland were killed when the vehicle they were both passengers in lost control on Joffre Bulger Road about 1:45 a.m. Saturday. Smith Township Police Chief Bernie LaRue said Gregg and Bowland were flown by helicopter to Weirton Medical Center, while two other men, Jordan David Jacobsen and Ben Bowman, both 19, were taken to Pittsburgh hospitals by ambulance.
Jacobsen, the driver of the overturned vehicle, was admitted to Allegheny General Hospital with minor injuries and Bowman was admitted to UPMC-Presbyterian hospital. Both men were released Monday.
LaRue said Pennsylvania State Police are assisting in the investigation. He did not rule out charges against either of the two survivors. Investigators are awaiting toxicology results.
Bowland had recently graduated with an associate’s degree in electronic engineering from Pittsburgh Technical Institute and was a manager at Jimmy V’s Pizza – his family’s restaurant.
Kelly Bowland, Joseph Bowland’s mother, said her son was eager to start his new job as a technician at Industrial Scientic soon. She said each of the young men were motivators for the other.
“Everybody loved them,” Kelly Bowland said. “Him and Dillon kept each other going. Each one was such an overacheiver. He was loved by everyone.”
Mike Gregg said Dillon was an avid sportsman and a hard worker. He was a bow and rifle hunter, trained as a mixed martial artist, was a semi-professional paintballer earlier in his youth and often competed in motocross races.
“Everything he did, he did to the fullest,” Mike Gregg said. “Everything he did, he always made me proud.”
Dillon Greg was a laborer at Howard Concrete Pumping in Cuddy since the age of 17.
“He had a 720 credit rating as a 22-year-old,” the elder Gregg said. “How many kids you know could say that?”
Frank Howard, owner of Howard Concrete, said it was going to be hard for his company to get over the loss of Gregg.
“He’s been with me pretty much since he was in high school,” Howard said. “He’s a good kid, a good laborer, has a good attitude, funny.
“He was just a good kid, man, and I’m just broke up over this.”
Family and friends were organizing a vigil for the two at the scene of the crash near the Joffre Post Office 7 p.m. Tuesday night. Mike Gregg said he hoped the loss of his son could help encourage other young people to make better decisions.
“Take a moment and think before you act,” Gregg said. “These kids just need to think about it before making a stupid mistake.
“There has to be some good in this. It was his time. But I’d like to turn this into a positive, and if one kid can be saved from learning from Dillon’s mistake, then that’s just another thing I’d be proud of.”