Mount St. Joseph grad dies after falling, striking head

October 14, 2008|By Julie Scharper | Julie Scharper,julie.scharper@baltsun.com

Home from college on fall break, William S. "Willie" Staso had plans to visit with family and friends and attend a football game at his alma mater, Mount St. Joseph High School, during the weekend.

The 18-year-old was hanging out with friends in Crofton early Saturday morning when, according to police, he ran up to a sport utility vehicle driven by a friend from high school, jumped on the hood and fell and struck his head.

He was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he died that afternoon, Anne Arundel County police said.

"It was one of those incredibly unnecessary tragedies," said Barry J. Fitzpatrick, the principal of Mount St. Joseph. "He was a wonderful kid. He didn't have a mean bone in his body. He was full of fun, full of mischief."

Staso, of the 8300 block of Cool Spring Court in Ellicott City, graduated from Mount St. Joseph in the spring and was a freshman at East Carolina University, Fitzpatrick said.

According to police, Staso was standing near Chapman Road and Andy Court about 12:30 a.m. when he ran up to the 2003 Chevrolet Suburban driven by Joseph Mendez, 19, of the 600 block of St. Johnsbury Road in Catonsville.

After Staso struck his head, Mendez and some passengers put him in the Suburban and started to drive him to the hospital, police said. They drove a short distance before stopping and calling for help.

Mendez, a 2007 graduate of Mount St. Joseph, and Staso were close friends, Fitzpatrick said.

Staso's parents declined to comment, and calls to Mendez's home were not returned.

Counselors and chaplains will be available for students at the high school this week, Fitzpatrick said.

A football game that many alumni attended Saturday was subdued, he said. Staso "would have probably been there on Saturday, God bless him, if he had lived," Fitzpatrick said.

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