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Special from the start

Mother says girl killed in crash loved to sing and dance

Mother says girl killed in crash loved to sing and dance

January 21, 2003|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

gregs@herald-mail.com

Amanda Smith's mother has volumes of sorted photos of her daughter, who was a bright 8-year-old with straight shoulder-length hair, clear blue eyes and rosy cheeks.

The plan, Bethany Smith said Monday night at the family's home on Hawks Hill Lane in Keedysville, was to give Mandy a photo album when she turned 18. The bound volume would chronicle her daughter's triumphs and troubles, and each of her six children would get one of their own.

Bethany Smith flipped through the tabbed files of pictures on her dining room table, coming across the marked Halloween envelope. There eventually were to be 18 Halloween pictures: One for each of Mandy's first 18 years.

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"Mandy's book won't have 18 pictures in it," she said.

Amanda Smith died Saturday along with Lindsay Grace Lazo, 8, of Columbia, Md., in a one-vehicle accident along Interstate 70 in Howard County, Md.

The two girls were killed when the Jeep Cherokee in which they were riding veered off Interstate 70 and struck a tree, Maryland State Police at the Waterloo, Md., barrack said.

Mandy's father, Douglas Scott Smith, 38, who was driving the Jeep, was injured in the accident. He was listed in critical condition at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore Monday night.

Bethany Smith said the family had moved from Laurel, Md., in July, and her husband was driving to Columbia with Mandy and Mandy's sister's friend, Lindsay Lazo. Lindsay had spent the night so she could attend a birthday party for Mandy's sister, Rebecca, and had a basketball game in the morning in her home town.

Bethany Smith sorted through more pictures. A picture of Mandy and three other youngsters at a pool in uniform showed the girl on a bright summer day as a member of the swim team.

Mandy was active, her mother said. She swam competitively the past two summers, liked to sing, and had taken dance lessons for a year, Bethany Smith said. She even wrote a song about friendship with her older sister Rebecca.

One picture, taken a few years ago, showed Mandy with Pon, the panda. It was her favorite stuffed animal even though she had many from which to choose, Bethany Smith said.

Pon would get lost, resurface and get lost again, Bethany Smith said. Pon had been left at stores, restaurants, and one time at Disney World. Someone always had found the bear, though. "She'd get all excited because they had it," she said.

But the photos don't show everything about Mandy, her older sister Rebecca said.

Rebecca said that at her birthday party last Friday, their younger sister Melissa didn't get any candy from the pinata. Mandy gave hers to Melissa.

Mandy was tidy, Rebecca said. Rebecca, not quite 12 months older than Mandy, said their shared room was split. "My side was messy and hers was clean."

Mandy's grandmother, Maria Gall, said "She was a little ham. She loved to entertain."

Mandy also liked to eat pickles, olives, peppers and other foods unusual for a child to like, Bethany Smith said.

Mandy was special right from the start, her mother said.

On Dec. 24, 1994, Bethany was eight months and two weeks pregnant with Mandy. Visiting her parents' home in Laurel, she felt a contraction at about 5 p.m. She started timing them and decided to go to the hospital.

At the hospital, "They said, 'You're staying here,'" Bethany Smith said. At 8:59 p.m., Dr. Sandmeyer at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, delivered Amanda Brittany Smith.

She was 20 inches long, weighed just over 8 pounds, and was a Christmas Eve baby.

Holy Cross gives parents a commemorative plaque with such information on it along with a picture of the baby. Usually, Bethany Smith said, the babies wear a standard little white shirt. Because Mandy was born on Christmas Eve, she wore a shirt with a big red heart on the front.

"That made her special," Bethany Smith said.

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