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Student killed in car accident was 'well-liked'

January 28, 2006|By PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

WARFORDSBURG, PA. -

An 18-year-old Clear Spring High School junior was killed Thursday night when he lost control of his car on a Fulton County, Pa., road, according to Pennsylvania State Police and the school's principal.

Thomas Ray Reeves, of 9812 National Pike in Big Pool, was pronounced dead at the scene of the 9:36 p.m. accident on Pa. 655, 4/10 of a mile south of Pa. 484 in Thompson Township, a Pennsylvania State Police release states.

Reeves, who had a "contagious smile," liked "computers, four-wheelers, go-karts and snowboarding," Clear Spring High School resource teacher June Habeck said.

Habeck, who worked closely with Reeves over the past four years, said Reeves had focused his studies on agriculture, but was "very anxious to be independent and to graduate even though he was a year behind."

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She said Reeves turned 18 on Jan. 5.

"He was very proud of himself for being an adult now," she said.

He worked at McDonald's at the Centre at Hagerstown, she said.

"I'm very saddened," she said. "He will be missed."

Trooper John D. Lupey said Reeves was not wearing a safety belt, but airbags in the 2001 Daewoo Lanos deployed in the accident. Police have determined speed to be the main factor in the crash, which occurred when Reeves - the sole occupant - lost control driving north into "an elbow curve" on Pa. 655, causing him to drive into a culvert, shearing off a telephone pole in the process, Lupey said. The car spun and flipped before stopping, he said.

"It's a very sad situation," Lupey said. He said he learned from the teenager's friends that he had been headed up that road "to see the area."

Lupey said there was another vehicle in front of Reeves, whose occupants witnessed the crash from a safe distance.

Reeves was ejected from the car, he said.

Clear Spring High School Principal Michael Shockey said Reeves was "a pretty outgoing guy and a nice young man, a really, really nice young man."

He said Reeves was "very happy-go-lucky, friendly, very well-liked by his teachers and fellow students."

"We're all gonna miss him," he said.

A Washington County Public Schools crisis team responded to the school Friday to help students cope with the loss of their classmate and friend, he said. Letters were sent home with students to their parents, explaining the teenager's death and the school's response, Shockey said.

Attempts to reach Reeves' family Friday afternoon were unsuccessful.

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