Patrons mourn accident victim

McDonald's customers, co-workers grieve loss

`He touched so many lives'


December 05, 2003|By Athima Chansanchai and Jennifer McMenamin | Athima Chansanchai and Jennifer McMenamin,SUN STAFF

Robert M. Carson worked the breakfast shift at the McDonald's in Eldersburg. Morning after morning, he took the drive-through customers' orders.

But Carson, 40, died in an automobile accident Wednesday. And since then the restaurant's regulars have stopped by to express their sorrow, and the crisis counselor at nearby Liberty High School has been inundated with calls.

Parents of youngsters who worked with Carson called to find out what had happened, and to ask what they could to do to help his family.

"He touched so many lives, from the kids who worked at McDonald's to the customers he served regularly," said the counselor, Kathy Horneman.

"We try to teach our kids a solid work ethic, and he epitomized that," she said.

Many of the callers referred to Carson as "Drive-Through Robert," Horneman said.

Carson's mother was driving him to work Wednesday morning when the passenger side of their car was struck as it made a left turn toward the restaurant, police said.

Carson lived with his mother, who usually took him to work, said Kurt Kranenberg, a daytime manager at the Eldersburg McDonald's.

Kranenberg and other co-workers mourned their sudden loss.

"Robert was fantastic," Kranenberg said. "We very seldom had a complaint about him. He was just one of those exceptional people."

Kranenberg said that the restaurant has received notes from customers. Some have also stopped by to talk about Carson.

Kevin Korzie, 18, a former student at Liberty High, recalled how students at his school who went through the drive-through for a quick breakfast came to know Carson.

As a night-shift griller at the restaurant, Korzie saw Carson only as he was finishing his shift, but he said the man made an impression.

"He was a nice guy, very dedicated to his job," Korzie said. "He really knew what he was doing."

Attempts to contact Carson's family yesterday were unsuccessful.

Carson's death was the second in two days on the roads of Carroll County.

On Tuesday, Megan Marie Taylor, 17, died in a five-vehicle crash on Route 482 (Hampstead Mexico Road) near Leisters Church Road. The Westminster High School student was a passenger in a car driven by her twin brother, Zachary, who was treated and released from the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Administrators at Westminster High cut homeroom periods short Wednesday morning to send students to their first-period classes, where teachers read a statement about the accident.

Staff also had counselors in each of Megan's and Zachary's classes as well as psychologists and counselors available to anyone in the school.

Megan was a senior honors student, varsity softball player and manager of the varsity football team.

She also played for the PA Starz softball team in Glen Rock, Pa., and was a member of the Maryland Stars traveling softball team.

No charges had been filed in either accident. Both remain under investigation, police said.

Sun staff writer Mary Gail Hare contributed to this article.

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