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Nine-year-old boy dies following accident

April 03, 2002|BY DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - Nine-year-old Robert F. Saum's surgery for a brain tumor was three weeks behind him when a Monday morning car accident claimed the Shenandoah Junction youngster's life.

Lillian Potter-Saum, Bobby's mother, was driving her son to Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore for his follow-up treatment Monday morning when the crash occurred at about 6:30 a.m. in Frederick County, Md.

Maryland State Police in Frederick said their Saturn struck the back of a truck on U.S. 340 near Frederick.

Bobby was taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead about 12 hours later.

His mother was listed in fair condition at the hospital Tuesday.

Bobby was a third-grade student at T.A. Lowery Elementary School in Kearneysville, W.Va., according to Ashley Musselwhite, the youngster's homebound teacher.

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Musselwhite said Tuesday she was in a state of disbelief.

"I just couldn't believe it. They were through the worst. It's just unbelievable," Musselwhite said.

The operation to remove Bobby's tumor about three weeks ago had been a success and his mother and his father, George, had commented about the professional care their son received at Johns Hopkins, Musselwhite said.

The youngster attended T.A. Lowery almost until the time of his surgery, although his mother took him out of the school before the procedure because some illnesses were going around among students, Musselwhite said.

Saum's mother was worried Bobby might come down with one of the illnesses, forcing doctors to postpone the operation, Musselwhite said.

Musselwhite said she had visited Bobby at his home in the Steeple Chase subdivision off Flowing Springs Road near Charles Town about three times since the surgery.

She described him as a "wiry little kid" who was bright in all his subjects and liked soccer. She said his prognosis was good, although he tired easily.

When doctors removed the tumor, they gave Bobby a piece of it, which he kept sealed under a glass slide.

"He was just the cutest little 9-year-old," she said.

A crisis intervention team was sent to T.A. Lowery Elementary Tuesday to help students deal with the loss, Superintendent of Schools Jud Romine said.

"It's certainly sad. It's a hard hit for all of us," Romine said.

Bobby was to receive homebound schooling until he was strong enough to return to T.A. Lowery, which was expected to be in early May, Musselwhite said.

Bobby Saum also is survived by an older brother, Danny.

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