Two Marylanders die in separate accidents in Pa.

Snow-related crashes kill Timonium man, 73, and Ellicott City girl, 13

January 01, 2002|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

Two Marylanders - a 13-year-old Ellicott City girl and a 73-year-old Timonium man - were among those killed in a series of snow-related highway accidents last week in Pennsylvania. Authorities released their names over the weekend.

Kelsey Mizerak, a seventh-grader at Bonnie Branch Middle School in Ellicott City, was killed in a crash on Interstate 81 near Hazleton that left her father seriously injured.

Nicholas J. Demshock of Timonium was killed and his wife, Joan, 57, was injured in a separate accident nearby on Interstate 80 near White Haven, authorities said. Joan Demshock was released from Lehigh Valley Hospital yesterday, but additional information about the couple was not available.

Both families were caught in a sudden series of blinding snow squalls that hit Pennsylvania on Friday.

According to Nancy Watts, a Mizerak family friend trying to organize support in Howard County for the family, Kelsey was sitting behind her father, Ronald J. Mizerak, who was driving.

Watts said the five members of the Mizerak family were on the way to visit relatives in Binghamton, N.Y., in their minivan when the squall hit, sending multiple vehicles sliding into each other in a series of crashes.

Watts said Margie Mizerak, Kelsey's mother, who was in the front passenger seat, told her that everyone in the van was knocked unconscious. Alexis, 10, sitting in the third seat in the rear, woke first and roused her mother and younger sister Madeline, 8, helping them to escape.

"A truck slid across the road and dragged a little red car. It hit the van from behind," knocking it into another truck, Watts said.

Ronald Mizerak was in critical condition yesterday in the trauma unit of Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pa., a spokeswoman said. Margie Mizerak and the two younger daughters were treated and released from area hospitals. The girls are being cared for by other family members, Watts said.

Kelsey, who attended Elkridge Landing Middle School last year, was the second Howard County child to die in an accident last week. Emily Ehrenreich, 11, a sixth-grader at Burleigh Manor Middle School, died Thursday after a skiing accident in Connecticut.

Howard school system spokeswoman Patti Caplan said crisis intervention teams will be on hand at both girls' schools tomorrow.

Watts mourned Kelsey's loss yesterday.

"She loved horseback riding. She loved the viola. She loved basketball," Watts said. "She was very intelligent and articulate," Watts said, recalling how well Kelsey got along with adults.

Leanne Rohrbaugh, 13, an eighth-grader at Bonnie Branch, said she and Kelsey talked about horses and "she told me what she was getting for Christmas. She was really nice. I enjoyed talking to her." Lately, Leanne said, Kelsey was talking about riding her horse in shows.

Kelsey belonged to a youth group at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Ellicott City and loved going to dances there and at her school, Watts said. She also was active on the Columbia Association swim team, played tennis with her father and sisters and had a pet parakeet.

Watts composed a poem yesterday in memory of Kelsey, which, she said, means "island of ships" in Scandinavian.

Funeral arrangements for both accident victims were incomplete yesterday.

Sun staff writer Tim Craig contributed to this article.

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