Principal is killed in automobile accident

November 15, 1996


Staff Writer

A head-on collision west of Hagerstown Friday afternoon claimed the life of a 49-year-old woman who was the principal at the Cedar Ridge Children's Home special education center.

Sharon Hooper Neubauer of Williamsport was on her way home from school on Md. 68 when her car struck a red mail truck driven by Nathan Lucas, 64, of Clear Spring, the Maryland State Police said.

Lucas was flown by helicopter to the Washington County Hospital where he was listed in fair condition.

Neubauer, who would have turned 50 on Tuesday, had left the school to meet her husband, Mel, and then travel to an out-of-town birthday celebration with her twin sister, according to Cedar Lawn Administrator David Swacina.


Neubauer was hired in June as educational director of the special education center at the children's home. She moved here from Buffalo, N.Y., where she had been a public school elementary principal, Swacina said.

"She was a life-time educator and devoted to special education," he said. "We had been without an education director for over a year, and she brought a terrific spirit of enthusiasm and a fresh approach. This is a tragic loss for us."

Staff members of the school, also on their way home, recognized Neubauer's car at the accident scene, Swacina said.

Neubauer had left the school early to get a head start on the trip she was looking forward to, he said. "She had specifically asked for the week off at the time she was hired," he said.

Swacina said Neubauer was looking forward to a Nov. 26 Cedar Ridge ground-breaking for a school and gym to replace a building destroyed in a May 14 fire.

Police said Neubauer apparently lost control of her eastbound car near Pinesburg Road. Her vehicle drove off the right side of the road, and when she tried to regain control, it crossed the center line, striking the truck, police said.

The cause of the accident is under investigation, police said.

The rear of Neubauer's blue-green Toyota Camry smashed into the left side of the truck.

Police blocked both the east and west sides of the road for rescue crews. Traffic, including a school bus, was held up for about a half-hour.

In addition to the state police, the Washington County Sheriff's Department, Clear Spring Volunteer Fire Co. and Williamsport Volunteer Fire Co. were on the scene.

Neubauer was a member of the Tri-State Fellowship Evangelical Free Church in Hagerstown, Swacina said. She has two grown daughters and four grandchildren, he said.

Staff Writer Brendan Kirby contributed to this story.

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