School mourns girl killed in crash

16-year-old athlete is second Westminster High student in month to die in a car accident

Baltimore & Region

October 07, 2005|By GINA DAVIS | GINA DAVIS,SUN REPORTER

For the second time in exactly a month, grief counselors at Westminster High School were comforting students yesterday grappling with the loss of another schoolmate involved a fatal car crash.

Bethany "Beth" Shay Green, 16, of the 1300 block of Savannah Court in Hampstead, lost control of her car late Wednesday night. Moments later, her parents, Christine and Ronnie Green, came across the accident along the windy, unlit stretch of the two-lane road.

Beth Green was driving a 1993 Honda Civic north on Gorsuch Road near Leisters School Road in Westminster about 8:10 p.m. when she missed the curve and veered off the right side of the road, state police said.

Her car struck a utility pole, trapping her inside the vehicle, police said.

The junior varsity volleyball player, with her parents several cars behind, was on her way home from a game when the accident happened.

"They were a ways back but came upon the scene," said Danny Green, Beth Green's uncle. "Mom administered CPR, and her dad helped cut her out" of the car.

The parents are members of the Gamber & Community Volunteer Fire Company; she is an emergency medical technician, and he is a paramedic.

After Green was freed from the car, she was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where she died while undergoing emergency surgery, her uncle said.

Police, who said driver error appears to have been a factor in the crash, are continuing their investigation.

Wednesday's accident - the second one just weeks into a new school year - was reminiscent of the Sept. 5 crash that claimed the life of another Westminster High student, 16-year-old Zachary D. Ondrish. He was killed and three other students were injured when the Jeep Wrangler they were riding in veered off a sharply curving road in Finksburg and plowed into a tree.

As students streamed into a school parking lot for 11th-graders yesterday, they consoled each other and shared stories about the girl they remembered for her athleticism and selflessness.

Green, a junior, played point guard for the school's junior varsity basketball team last year and was on this year's junior varsity volleyball team. Her uncle said she also played softball, basketball and volleyball for local recreational leagues.

"Beth was your all-around girl who excelled in everything she did," said Brooke Richardson, a junior and a volleyball teammate. "She was such a giving person and would reach out to anyone who needed help."

As Richardson spoke about Green, other classmates were clinging to each other and crying.

The accident is "a reality check. I know it's kind of a clichM-i that everyone says this won't happen to you," said Sarah Friedrich, a junior.

Principal John Seaman, who said school-based grief counselors had been meeting with students, tried to bring perspective to overwhelmed students.

"I heard some students speaking in the hallway, and they were saying, "Geez, we're jinxed,'" he said.

"I told them ... people will have automobile accidents. And people who have accidents have deaths," he said. "The numbers have just worked against us. But how we respond as a school community is critical."

He urged students to talk with grief counselors at the school of nearly 2,000 students, as well as their parents, as they try to come to terms with the losses.

"None of us has a desire to forget the tragedies," said Seaman, who added that the school had canceled last night's volleyball games but had not canceled other activities. "In all the things we do, we attempt to teach. It's a part of reality that people die. ... But the message is that life continues."

gina.davis@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Ellie Baublitz contributed to this article.

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