Two killed in Sunday accident remembered

December 30, 2003|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Chambersburg woman who died in a Sunday afternoon accident was "a volunteer in the truest sense of the word," Chambersburg YMCA Executive Director Dave Matthews said.

D. Marguerite Newkirk, 80, of 780 Stouffer Ave., was pronounced dead at the scene of a fiery crash at the intersection of Pa. 16 and Woods Road in Montgomery Township, Pa., that also claimed the life of a Mercersburg, Pa., man, Pennsylvania State Police said.

"He loved hunting and spending time with his little nephew," Randy Harne said of his brother, William Ray Harne, 29, of 9240 Garnes Road.


Police said Harne died when his motorcycle and Newkirk's car collided.

Newkirk's daughter, Donna Herman, 53, of 906 E. McKinley St., was flown from the scene of the accident by Life Lion Helicopter to Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center. A hospital spokeswoman said Monday she was listed in good condition.

Police said Newkirk was driving a 1996 Mercury Sable east at about 4:41 p.m. when she tried to turn left onto Woods Road and drove into the path of Harne's 2003 Kawasaki Ninja 900. The motorcycle struck the passenger-side front fender of the car and Harne, who was wearing a helmet, was thrown onto a grassy area on the north side of the road, police said.

The crash caused the motorcycle's gas tank to rupture, spilling fuel onto Newkirk's car and the road, police said. The car became engulfed in fire, police said.

Franklin County Coroner Jeffrey R. Conner said Harne died of blunt-force multiple trauma. An autopsy performed Monday at Lehigh Valley Medical Center in Allentown, Pa., determined that Newkirk died of blunt-force head trauma, not from the fire, he said.

Police said it was not known if Newkirk or Herman were wearing seat belts.

Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to call Trooper Jeffrey Schaeffer at 717-264-5161.

"She's been a board member since the YMCA was built in Chambersburg in 1956," Matthews said of Newkirk. Over the years, she had served as a volunteer swimming instructor, swimming coach and women's fitness instructor, he said.

She still was chairwoman of the YMCA's Board Development Committee, helping to recruit and train new board members, Matthews said. Until March, Newkirk was chairwoman of the Program Committee, overseeing all the programs offered at the YMCA.

Matthews said Newkirk exercised at the YMCA almost daily.

"She was just a terrific person and a terrific neighbor," longtime next-door neighbor Jim Morter said. "If you needed any help, she was always there."

A native of Great Britain, Newkirk met her late husband Clyde, an injured U.S. soldier, in England during World War II, Morter said. She was a nursery school teacher with the Head Start program before retiring, he said.

Harne was a 1992 graduate of James Buchanan High School, his brother said. He worked as a driver for Pepsi-Cola Co. in Williamsport for the past few years, Randy Harne said.

"He'll be sadly missed," Harne said, recalling how his brother enjoyed being with his nephew.

"All he wanted in life was a family and it got cut short," he said.

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