A teen-ager known to family and friends as an avid surfer with a light-hearted perspective on life was killed Friday in a two-car collision in Columbia as he and two friends headed to Georgetown for a movie.
Ronald E. Chase Jr., 16, of the 3400 block of Pierce Drive in Ellicott City, was fatally injured in the crash, which occurred shortly before 10:40 p.m. in the intersection of U.S. 29 and Owen Brown Road. The accident is still under investigation by county police.
Chase, whose long hair and earring set the tone for his casual lifestyle, will be buried with a Surfer magazine under his arm, said his mother, Betty Chase of Columbia.
"One of his dreams was to become a surfer. He loved going to the beach and riding the waves," Betty Chase said. "He liked to live his life carefree, and surfing meant a lot to him."
Many of Ronald's former teammates in the Columbia Association soccer leagues, where Ronald played for years, attended a memorial service Monday and some left mementos in his coffin. One friend left a carbon-dioxide cartridge in remembrance of days when the two played target games with paint guns, said Betty Chase.
Several county teachers also attended the services, including two of his former elementary school teachers.
Ronald, a junior at Centennial High School, never fared well with his grades, his mother said, but "he didn't mind school because he had so many friends and was always off doing something."
County school officials say that as a freshman, Chase played junior varsity soccer and received the team's "Most Improved Player" award at the end of the season.
Chase also planned to try out for the school tennis team in the spring and he had been dating, Betty Chase said. In recent years, he developed an intense interest in music and sometimes played his electric guitar for hours with friends, she said.
Chase, a passenger in the front seat of the car, was going to Georgetown with two 16-year-old Columbia friends, Terrence Peter Jensen and Ben A.
Abramamovitz, to kick off the weekend. The three planned to see a late showing of the cult movie "Rocky Horror Picture Show," said Betty Chase.
Both Jensen, of the 9500 block of Long Look Lane, and Abramamovitz, of the 5000 block of Mystic Court, are in satisfactory condition at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.
Jensen was driving a 1979 Toyota Celica southbound on U.S. 29 when it collided in the intersection with a car driven by Russell Lee Bray, of the 1000 block of Hilltop Road in Jessup, a police report said.
Bray was treated and released at Howard County General Hospital.
The Chase family is accepting memorial contributions toward a college fund in memory of Ronald.
"He wasn't a scholar, but he wanted to go to college. And even if he couldn't go because of his grades, he would have wanted somebody else to go," Betty Chase said.