Freshman Michael Crabill stood on the parking lot outside Edgewood High after school yesterday. What he said, no doubt, summed up what many of his classmates were feeling.
"I would never have thought that everybody would die all at once," Michael said, thinking about how four of his schoolmates have died in traffic accidents this past month. "It's not right."
Monday, senior Robert Walls Jr., 17, and sophomore Kevin Poznaniak, 15, were killed in a 6:25 p.m. accident on U.S. 40 in Abingdon. They were headed to a special ceremony at school board headquarters honoring their performance on the "It's Academic" television show. Three other students were injured in the crash.
On Valentine's Day, Chad D. Sullivan, 17, and his 15-year-old girlfriend, Kimberly A. Lester, were killed when their car struck a utility pole on Route 136 in Churchville. Police believe that Chad was driving too fast on wet roads.
Chad was a member of the school's lacrosse team. Kimberly was a cheerleader and a member of the soccer and lacrosse teams.
Throughout yesterday, a group of 10 psychologists, counselors and clergy waited in the school's library to talk with any of the 950 students who needed help coping with the deaths -- the second time in a month the crisis team has visited Edgewood.
At one point, three students huddled together in the library near the "It's Academic" team's bulletin board. One girl was crying.
Outside the school, Michael, 14, recalled how he used to play street hockey with Kevin in the parking lot of Prince of Peace Church in Edgewood. Like many students at Edgewood, both tragedies touched close to him: Michael and Kimberly lived about two blocks apart on Perry Avenue in Edgewood.
William F. Loper, assistant principal at Edgewood, said he had never been through a similar experience in 30 years as an educator. "I don't even know how to describe it," Mr. Loper said.
Monday evening, Robert Walls of Abingdon was driving Kevin and three other classmates to school board headquarters. Heading north on Long Bar Harbor Road, Robert turned his car onto U.S. 40 and was struck on the left side by another car, state police at Bel Air said.
Robert was pronounced dead at the scene. Kevin, of Edgewood, died at Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace. Police said they believe Robert ran a stop sign.
Two other passengers, Keith Daw and Matthew McMahon, both 17 and of Edgewood, were listed in critical but stable condition yesterday at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center. The fifth youth, Robert Schimmel, 17, of Edgewood was treated for minor injuries at Harford Memorial and released, police said.
The driver of the other car was treated for minor injuries and released.
Junior Paul Moultrup, who transferred to Edgewood last fall, recalled how he and Kevin became pals after Kevin showed him around the school. The two often spent time listening to police and fire scanners. Kevin occasionally would visit fire scenes, then spend the next day at school talking about them.
"He always had a dream of joining the fire department," Paul said. "He always had goals. Now it's wiped out."
Mr. Loper said the five teen-agers in the Walls car were good friends. "You hardly saw one without the others," he said. "They were always together."
The five were helping with sales of baked goods and pit beef sandwiches, raising money for their trip to a national "It's Academic" competition in Chicago later this year. They had bought "It's Academic" team jackets -- black, red and white, the Edgewood colors.
Mr. Loper said Robert, called "Rob" by classmates and teachers, always was willing to offer the use of his pickup to help move things at school.
"He was our main man in the auditorium for years," handling lighting and sound for special school events, Mr. Loper said.
This weekend, Rob was to work as the lighting technician for showings of the play "Pajama Game," he added. Kevin was to operate the spotlights.
Administrators have not decided whether to postpone the play.