Students at Century High School in Carroll County yesterday packed the main lobby, media center and nurse's office for help from a crisis support team as they struggled to comprehend the death of a popular junior who died Wednesday night in a car accident.
Gretchen Martina Brandt, 16, of Woodbine was killed when her car crossed the center line into eastbound Liberty Road and was struck by a sport utility vehicle, state police said yesterday.
Crisis counselors were at three Sykesville schools yesterday to help students and faculty deal with the loss. Brandt was the oldest of four children, with three brothers in local schools. Joey, 14, is a student at Century; Troy, 12, is at Sykesville Middle; and Kyle, 10, is at Linton Springs Elementary.
"This has impacted our entire community," said Century Principal Andrew Cockley, who has canceled all student activities through tomorrow out of respect for the family.
Yesterday, friends and family recalled Brandt as an upbeat girl.
"She was very bubbly, always excited to see everybody," said Ronda Andrews, a family friend who spoke on behalf of Brandt's parents, Andrea and Gary Brandt.
"She never met a stranger," said Andrews of Sykesville. "She never had a clique; everyone was her friend."
Brandt, who played basketball, soccer and lacrosse at Century, was known as a leader and often served as team captain. Andrews recalled Brandt's role in a state lacrosse championship game in May that Century won.
"She touched the lives of many different people," Cockley said. "She was a tremendous role model. She was a student many others would do well to emulate."
The atmosphere at the school yesterday was one of "extreme emotion," Cockley said.
"There has been an outpouring of help from throughout the county to help students and faculty," he said. "Many parents are stopping by to offer help. ... We're doing whatever we can to help students realize how to deal with their grief."
Brandt, who was traveling alone, was driving a 2004 Honda Civic in the slow lane of westbound Liberty Road near Georgetown Boulevard at 6:36 p.m. when her car briefly crossed into the left lane and then veered across the center line into eastbound traffic, police said.
Brandt's car was struck on the passenger side by a 2002 Ford Explorer traveling in the fast lane of eastbound Liberty Road.
The Explorer was in turn rear-ended by a 1992 Honda Civic driven by Aimie Marie Greenberg, 20, of the 6200 block of N. Walnut Ave. in Sykesville, authorities said.
Greenberg refused medical treatment at the scene, state police said.
Police said the driver of the SUV, Kimberly Deboy, 27, of the 4800 block of Evergreen Park Road in Lexington Park, St. Mary's County, was taken by ambulance to Northwest Hospital in Randallstown. Her condition was not known last night.
Brandt was pronounced dead at the scene by the medical examiner, authorities said. Police are investigating the crash.
Teachers took time out during classes to allow students to talk about Brandt and to share their grief, said Andy McEvoy, a senior at Century.
"Everywhere you turned, there was someone sad," McEvoy said.
Sun staff writer Athima Chansanchai contributed to this article.