Family, friends recall teenager killed in accident

April 24, 2001

Family, friends recall teenager killed in accident

By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg

The image of a quiet and cheerful teenager devoted to his livestock and farming has emerged as friends and family remember Aaron J. Hartman.

The 17-year-old Chambersburg Area Senior High School junior was killed in a head-on collision Monday morning on his way to school.

Word quickly spread about the death of the popular vocational-agricultural student, and the school has called in extra counselors and psychologists this week to help teachers and students deal with their grief, said Principal Dennis Hillwig.

Hillwig said the crisis team was on campus to meet individually with students, and a counselor and psychologist went to each of Aaron's classes Tuesday to talk with his teachers and classmates.


He added that students will be allowed to attend the funeral during school hours Thursday with the permission of their parents.

Aaron was an agriculture major at the high school, and he was planning to attend the Franklin County Career and Technical Center next year for classes in agriculture mechanics, said Brian Storm, his guidance counselor.

Storm said the classes would have taught him how to use and repair farm equipment.

"He was a real hard worker on his family's farm, and he raised his own animals," Storm said.

Aaron was involved with the school's Future Farmers of America chapter, the 4-H Baby Beef Club and the Franklin County Fair Committee. He also worked at Wal-Mart.

"He was a well-liked, very nice young man who got along with a lot of students," Storm said.

He said Aaron's circle of friends extended to the grades above and below his own.

"He didn't really ever seem to have a bad day in school," Storm said.

The Rev. Robert Culler, youth pastor at the Hartmans' church, said Aaron was always willing to pitch in and help with church functions.

"He was always willing to lend a hand. He was a very genuine young man," Culler said. "If you had the privilege of knowing him as a friend, he was a committed friend."

But he said Aaron's lifelong passion was farming.

"He enjoyed any kind of farm work, particularly raising animals," said Culler, pastor of the Mount Pleasant United Brethren Church.

Duane Hawbaker, leader of the 4-H Baby Beef Club, said members will show Aaron's cattle this weekend at the South Mountain Fairgrounds in Adams County at events he had already signed up for.

Aaron was only 8 when he joined the Baby Beef Club, in which members raise and breed short-horn beef cows.

Hawbaker said Aaron was a role model for club members.

"He was quiet. His actions spoke more than his words did," he said. "He was smiling all of the time."

Aaron was on his way to pick up his girlfriend for school the morning of his death. He was driving southbound on Pa. 316 near New Franklin Road in Guilford Township, when his 1991 GMC Sonoma pickup truck crossed the center line, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

The truck struck a 1998 Ford Explorer driven by Penny R. Morrison, 40, of 3889 Church Road, police said.

Aaron died on impact, police said.

Morrison was taken to Chambersburg Hospital where she was listed in fair condition Tuesday.

Pennsylvania State Police Tpr. J.A. Sarver, who is investigating the accident, said he hopes autopsy results will reveal a cause of the crash.

"There is no indication at this point as far as why he crossed the line," Sarver said.

He said he was not sure when the autopsy results from a state coroner in Allentown, Pa., would be available.

Aaron is survived by his parents, Ronnie L. and Deborah B. Baughman Hartman, and a sister, Melinda Hartman.

The funeral service will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Mount Pleasant United Brethren Church, 2509 Black Gap Road, Chambersburg.

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