Jefferson High School cook dies in W.Va. crash

May 19, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - A longtime cook at Jefferson High School who was described as a "real-life angel" was killed Tuesday afternoon when she lost control of a Ford Explorer on Flowing Springs Road and struck an embankment, police and Jefferson County Schools officials said.

Sim May, 62, of Shepherdstown, W.Va., was thrown from the sport utility vehicle when it overturned, said West Virginia State Police Senior Trooper M.A. Cole.

May was thrown through the driver's side window, Cole said.

It appears May was not wearing a seat belt, police said.

Police believe May, who was traveling north on Flowing Springs Road near Whitmer Road, may have drifted toward the center of the road then quickly turned her vehicle back toward the northbound lane, Cole said. The vehicle went off the east edge of the road and struck the embankment, coming to rest on the driver's side, Cole said.


May was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

The staff at Jefferson High School had been sent home at noon due to a power outage at the school and it is believed May was returning home, said Superintendent of Schools R. Steven Nichols.

There was a breaker malfunction at the school early in the morning and students were sent home about 9 a.m. because about half of the school was in the dark, Nichols said.

The malfunction was later corrected and Jefferson High is expected to return to a normal schedule today, Nichols said.

May, who is survived by a son and daughter, was described as someone who enjoyed her job and being with the students at the high school.

At the beginning of the regular Jefferson County Board of Education meeting Tuesday night at Shepherdstown Elementary School, Nichols led the board in a moment of silence in honor of May.

"We will certainly, and very honestly, miss her," Nichols told those gathered.

Outside the room where the meeting was being held, extra copies of the March edition of the Jefferson High School student newspaper, which featured a front page story on May, was available for people to take.

"A Loving Lunch Lady. The Woman Serving a Smile," read the headline of the story.

The story explained how May's responsibility was overseeing the red serving line.

"Every single day, any given Jefferson High student could be blessed with the opportunity to gaze upon a real-life angel. All that they have to do is choose the red tray," Jefferson High Times writer Chris Peterson wrote.

"She was just a very caring person," Board of Education member Doris Cline said before Tuesday's meeting.

May came to the United States from Korea in 1974, according to the Jefferson High Times story. Six years later she took the job at Jefferson High School, the story said.

Trooper Geoff Petsko said he believes May might have survived the crash had she been wearing her seat belt.

Between May 19 and June 2, state police will be patrolling the county as part of the "Click It or Ticket" campaign to emphasize the importance of seat belt use, Petsko said.

Motorists can be ticketed for not wearing seat belts if they are pulled over for another violation, Petsko said.

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