Adrian Cmerek remembered as stellar athlete at River Hill, VMI

Services scheduled today

student died after crash


December 30, 2004|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,SUN STAFF

Services will be held today in Columbia for Adrian A. Cmerek, 20, a standout athlete at River Hill High School who went on to play college football and lacrosse at Virginia Military Institute.

Mr. Cmerek died Monday at Maryland Shock Trauma Center of injuries he suffered in an early-morning automobile accident last week near his Clarksville home. He was home on holiday leave from VMI in Lexington, Va., where he was a junior majoring in psychology, according to the school's athletic department.

At VMI, news of the death of Mr. Cmerek, who was a starting defensive player on the football and lacrosse teams, stunned the tight-knit military college at the southern end of the Shenandoah Valley.

"I remember the first time I ever met Adrian, I really fell in love with the old boy because he was such an enthusiastic young guy," said Cal McCombs, VMI's football coach. At 6 feet 1 inch and 245 pounds, Mr. Cmerek was a "tremendous athlete and a very intense player," Mr. McCombs said.

"We had some tough times at VMI trying to re-establish the football program, but this is definitely the toughest time we've been through," Mr. McCombs said. "I've never lost a player."

The accident occurred about 4 a.m. Dec. 22, while Mr. Cmerek was driving on Ten Oaks Road in Clarksville. His Ford Mustang crossed the double yellow line and collided head-on with a trash truck west of Golden Harvest Court, Howard County police said. The truck driver was not injured. Mr. Cmerek became entangled in the wreckage.

A state police Medevac helicopter arrived to take him to the hospital, but emergency workers needed more than 45 minutes to extricate him from the car, said Bill Mould, a spokesman for the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services.

Mr. Mould said the department's associate medical director, a physician, and other paramedics worked on Mr. Cmerek until he could be freed from the wreckage.

Glass and other debris were still scattered along the roadside yesterday.

George Miller, who owns Ten Oaks Gallery about two-tenths of a mile down the road, said he was at work in his shop when he heard "an explosion." His six dogs "all went bananas," he said. He went outside to look around but couldn't see the accident scene. By the time he returned inside, he heard sirens coming.

Mr. Miller heard the state police helicopter land - a familiar sound because his store is near Routes 32 and 108 - but it did not take off again for a while. "I was really worried when it didn't leave for a long time," Mr. Miller said.

A police spokeswoman said the crash is being investigated.

Mr. Cmerek's stepfather, Toy Kincer, answered the door yesterday morning at the family home in the 5800 block of Wild Orange Gate. He said he was unable to talk because he had to tend to family matters.

Mr. Cmerek attended Howard High School for two years, then transferred to River Hill, said football coach Brian Van Deusen. He said Mr. Cmerek earned all-county honors during his senior year at River Hill. He graduated in 2002, a Howard County schools spokeswoman said.

"He was one of our best players his senior year," Mr. Van Deusen said. "He had a good sense of humor. He was the kid who got along with everybody ... just a nice kid and a hard worker."

Jay Morgan, 22, who played football with Mr. Cmerek at River Hill and who also attends VMI, where he is captain of the lacrosse team, said many of Mr. Cmerek's lacrosse and football teammates plan to attend a memorial service today in Columbia.

"Everybody's just really torn up," Mr. Morgan said. "When I called my coach at VMI, he was just in tears."

The memorial service will be held at Witzke Funeral Home, 5555 Twin Knolls Road in Columbia. Friends can call from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., and a memorial service will begin at 8 p.m. A chaplain from VMI, Col. James S. Park, will conduct the service, VMI's athletic department said.

Mr. Cmerek will be buried in Taylor, Texas, near Austin, according to VMI.

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