`Good Samaritan' killed while helping direct traffic

Sykesville man hit by skidding automobile

January 10, 2002|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Gary P. Haines, a 47-year-old father of three who died after he was hit by a skidding car on an icy Sykesville street yesterday morning, was described as a Good Samaritan by those who knew him.

Haines was struck while he was directing motorists away from several accidents along Macbeth Way in his South Carroll neighborhood after yesterday's surprise ice storm made driving treacherous.

"I was not at all surprised to hear that Gary was out there helping. He was always helping," said Mary Ellis, a Gardenia Street neighbor of the Haines family. "All the sidewalks and streets were slick and there were already several accidents on Macbeth Way. We have a lot of hills here, and the buses had a lot of trouble getting around the streets."

Haines had driven his son, Brian, to a stop to catch a school bus to Liberty High School. Normally, Brian would drive to school but he was involved in a minor accident along Macbeth Way earlier in the morning, police said. So Haines drove his son to the intersection of Orchid Lane and Macbeth Way, saw him off to school and began directing traffic at about 8:20 a.m., police said.

"He told his son, `I'm fine. You go to school. I am going to try to help out here,'" said the Rev. Patrick Tonry, Haines' pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Community Church in Eldersburg. "Those were probably the last words he said."

Not long after Haines began to direct traffic, a sedan driven by 33-year-old James E. Vanslyke of Bridoon Avenue in Sykesville skidded out of control and pinned Haines against his vehicle, killing him instantly, police said.

Tonry was called to the scene shortly after the accident. Although police had cordoned off the area, they allowed the priest to "say a few prayers over" Haines, Tonry said. He then accompanied police to Haines' home.

"His wife knew he had been in an accident but police would not let her near the scene," Tonry said. "We had to tell her that he had died in these strange, unfortunate circumstances."

Several people witnessed the accident, which police said was the direct result of icy conditions. No charges had been filed. Police said they will await the results of an autopsy and will continue the investigation for as long as 30 days.

Gary Haines and his wife, Cathy, and their three sons had lived in the Clipper Hill Estates neighborhood for about 10 years. Many family members, neighbors and friends of the Haines children were with the family yesterday, Tonry said.

"I was with them all most of the morning," he said. "There was a lot of strength there and a lot of support. This is going to be a difficult time for this family and for all the youth who knew Gary. He was always good with people, very upbeat and he was an extremely fine father."

Cathy Haines, a kindergarten assistant at Piney Ridge Elementary, teaches religious education at St. Joseph, and Gary Haines, who worked at Fort Meade, frequently coached youth teams, particularly basketball.

The family are longtime and active members at St. Joseph, Tonry said. "He was a regular at Mass with the boys and his wife."

"He was always with his boys, whatever the sport, and the many children he coached really liked him," Tonry said.

Haight Funeral Home in Eldersburg will handle funeral arrangements.

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