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Teen killed in 1-car crash

January 07, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

Students at J. Frank Faust Junior High School began Tuesday morning with "a moment of silent meditation for a member of the Faust family that we lost," Principal Rick Keller said of 14-year-old Aaron James Neidig, who died in a one-car crash early Monday in Adams County, Pa.

Neidig, of 640 Mickey Inn Road and a ninth-grader at the school, died of head injuries in the 12:40 a.m. crash on U.S. 30 in Franklin Township, according to Adams County Coroner Patricia Felix. She said Neidig was a front- seat passenger in the vehicle.

Pennsylvania State Police in Adams County said Neidig was in a westbound 1995 Dodge Neon that ran off the north side of the road, striking a wooden signpost, then hitting and shearing off a utility pole. The car then rolled onto the passenger's side and hit a concrete culvert, police said.

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The 17-year-old driver and a 16-year-old passenger were able to get out of the car before it caught fire, police said. As of Tuesday afternoon, police had not released the names of the two boys or indicated whether they were injured.

"He was a Civil War re-enactor with the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry and he loved it," said his father, James M. Neidig.

It was an activity Aaron shared with his father, mother Kimberly and a brother, James Neidig said.

He said the family moved to this area from Shamokin, Pa., about two years ago because it is close to Gettysburg, Pa., Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg and other Civil War battlefields where re-enacting is popular. Neidig said his son sometimes would portray an aide to Gen. Grant or fetch ammunition for other soldiers during re-enactments.

"He helped out wherever he could," the father said.

"He was cheerful, always smiling. ... He was well-loved by everybody," Neidig said. "We've had so many people call or come by" to offer condolences, including classmates and people from the neighborhood, he said.

Neidig said Tuesday that he had not spoken with anyone from state police in Adams County to learn more details about the accident.

Keller said state police in Franklin County contacted the school Monday morning asking if anyone from the school with the first name of Aaron was missing.

"The boys he was with did not know his last name," Keller said he was told by police. Police asked the school not to give out Neidig's name to anyone Monday while members of his family were being notified.

"I chose to keep it quiet because it was the first day back from vacation" and a crisis team was not in place, Keller said. He informed the faculty Monday and said about a dozen counselors and psychologists from the district were available to meet with students and staff in the school's library on Tuesday.

"We wound up seeing several dozen kids" who met with crisis team members as individuals or in small groups, Keller said. A few students were sent home for the day.

"We've been through this before," Keller said. "It doesn't get any easier."

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