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Boy remembered as being mature beyond his age

September 19, 2002|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

When Philip Linton and his mother drove past an ice cream shop, he always offered to buy. If friends needed anything, he was there.

Family and friends Wednesday were mourning the loss of a teenager they say made friends easily, had a strong faith and tried to help those in need.

Philip, 14, of Glengary, died Monday night from injuries sustained in a car crash. He was a passenger in a 1996 Nissan car that was being driven by his best friend, a 17-year-old boy whom police declined to name.

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At 4:22 p.m. Sunday, the teens' car skidded out of control on a wet section of W.Va. 45 West around a turn, police said. The passenger side of the boys' Nissan collided with an on-coming vehicle, killing a passenger in that car, Regina Martinson, 34, of Glengary.

After medics extricated Philip from the Nissan, which hit a tree after colliding with the other car, he was airlifted to Fairfax Inova Hospital in Virginia. He died the next day.

Philip's friend was taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg and has been released. West Virginia State Police cited him for failure to maintain control and no proof of insurance.

Both teenagers were wearing their seat belts, police said.

They were going to get something to eat before heading to an evening church service, said Philip's mother, Belinda Linton.

"I think he was mature beyond his age," said Tim Butler, Philip's youth pastor at the First Baptist Church in Inwood. "He was truly a good kid among good kids."

At just over 6 feet, Linton played on Musselman High School's freshman basketball team last year, even though he was an eighth-grader at the time, his mother said. At the time of his death, he was a ninth-grader at Musselman High.

Philip leaves behind his parents, Ed and Belinda, and an 18-year-old sister, Rachel.

"He was the best," Belinda Linton said. "He was always happy."

When he told his parents he was going somewhere, they never had to worry he might be going somewhere else, somewhere he shouldn't be, his mother said.

"He never gave us a minute's trouble," Belinda Linton said.

Active in his church, Philip took a leading role to teach a class of fifth-graders at Vacation Bible School, Butler said.

Pete Arvon taught Philip science last year at Musselman Middle School. Philip was "the ideal type of student," Arvon said. "Our community is going to be a little bit less of a community."

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