A 23-year-old Towson State University student who performed as the Oriole Bird was killed yesterday when he lost control of his Ford Bronco as he was driving home from an appearance as the Bird in Anne Arundel County.
James Patrick Parker was driving west on Route 32 through Fort Meade about 4:30 p.m. when he lost control of his truck and it flipped three times, base spokesman Chris Ivusic said.
Mr. Parker was thrown from the truck. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Fort Meade emergency services personnel.
Several people portray the Oriole Bird; Mr. Parker had been doing it for two years, according to Bob Miller, a spokesman for the Orioles.
"We're extremely saddened," Mr. Miller said. "What he did brought a lot of joy to a lot of people, and we're going to miss him."
Mr. Parker, who was a senior majoring in theater at Towson, had been on his way to his parents' house in Carroll County when the accident occurred, said his father, James Thomas Parker II.
Although his son had been busiest during the baseball season, Mr. Parker said, he frequently made three or four appearances a week during the off-season at hospitals, schools, parties and on other occasions. Mr. Parker said his son had loved his job.
"It was an audition he decided to try for, and he was just thrilled when he made it," he recalled.
Mr. Parker said his son was an accomplished musician who sang and played guitar every Monday at Leadbetter's in Fells Point. He described him as a fun-loving person who loved to play with children.
"He always took a very childlike approach to everything. He was Peter Pan," he said. "He never wanted to grow up."