Shepherd professor dies after car crash

December 14, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. - A psychology professor at Shepherd University died early Monday, hours after a two-car accident on U.S. 340 near Charles Town.

Loren Frankel, 39, died at 3:35 a.m. Monday at Washington (D.C.) Hospital Center, officials said.

Frankel, who was driving a Subaru Legacy, was attempting to pull from W.Va. 230 onto U.S. 340 north between Charles Town and Harpers Ferry, W.Va., at about 6:25 p.m. Sunday, said Deputy Steve Holz of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department.

Police believe Frankel failed to yield to traffic and the Legacy was struck broadside by a southbound Toyota Avalon driven by Kendra Norris, 19, of Ellicott City, Md., said Cpl. Dave Colbert of the Sheriff's Department.


Frankel and his girlfriend, Aimee Coonerty-Feriano, 31, of Brighton, Mass., had to be cut from the wreckage of the car, Holz said.

All lanes of U.S. 340 were shut down near the intersection to allow a helicopter to land on the highway, Holz said. Frankel was flown to Washington Hospital Center, police said.

Coonerty-Feriano was taken to Jefferson Memorial Hospital and later taken to Washington Hospital Center, where she was listed in critical condition Monday night, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Norris was treated at Jefferson Memorial Hospital and released, Holz said.

Coonerty-Feriano was in the area visiting, and Frankel was taking her to Baltimore Washington International Airport so she could return to Massachusetts, said Irving Tucker, chairman of Shepherd University's psychology department.

Frankel, who held a doctorate in psychology from Cornell University, was hired at Shepherd in the fall and taught life-span development psychology, Tucker said.

Shepherd has instructors who specialize in different areas in the psychology department and Frankel was preparing to specialize in child development psychology, Tucker said.

Shepherd University President David L. Dunlop said school officials believed Frankel would have been a good fit with the school's distinguished psychology faculty.

"We just can't believe he had this tragic accident," Dunlop said.

"He was going to be a major player," Tucker said.

Frankel was well-liked among faculty and students, who praised him for his ability to explain complex psychology issues, Tucker said.

Frankel lived in an apartment in Shepherdstown and was devoted to a dog he owned, Tucker said. Frankel often took the dog on walks, and because of the animal's age, he would carry the dog up the steps to his apartment after the walks, Tucker said.

As word spread Monday of Frankel's death, fellow teachers expressed concern about how Frankel's dog was going to be taken care of.

"Everybody has just been kind of teary-voiced all day," fellow instructor Larry Daily said Monday.

"He was just a lovely person. I don't know anyone who is more respected in such a short time," Tucker said.

Tucker said the fact that the accident occurred close to the holidays makes Frankel's death especially difficult. Tucker said Frankel recently commented to him about how nice Shepherdstown looked for Christmas and Coonerty-Feriano remarked about the unique items she found in local shops, Tucker said.

"It's just the worst time," Tucker said.

Frankel had numerous publications to his credit and was a member of several professional organizations, including the American Psychological Association, the American Sociological Association and the American Men's Studies Association, according to Shepherd University's Web site.

Frankel's publications dealt with such subjects as male sexuality and reproductive development and sexual identity, according to the Web site.

He had been a psychology instructor at Elmira College in Elmira, N.Y., and an instructor in the Human Development Department at Cornell University, the Web site said.

To help students deal with the loss, Shepherd officials hope to have a memorial service for Frankel in early January after the spring semester starts, Tucker said. Tucker said he hopes the service can be held in Reynolds Hall.

Classes ended last week for the fall semester.

Frankel's body has been sent to California, where his family lives, Tucker said.

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