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Former Jefferson High School baseball standout killed in car crash

September 04, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- Jefferson High School's baseball coach and friends of Andrew Michael Rotruck were still in shock Wednesday over the news that the 18-year-old former player had been killed Tuesday in a two-car accident south of Cumberland, Md.

Rotruck, of Charles Town, was killed about 3:10 p.m. when the 1992 Ford Escort he was driving north on U.S. 220 went off the road and struck a guardrail, according to Sgt. T. Gregory of the Maryland State Police.

Rotruck's car returned to the highway and went into the southbound lane, where it was struck broadside by a 2005 Honda Element driven by Mary Kathleen Brown, 59, of Keyser, W.Va., Gregory said.

Rotruck was thrown from his car and pronounced dead at the scene.

Brown was taken to Cumberland Memorial Hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening, Gregory said.

The crash occurred south of Rawlings, Md., about halfway between Cumberland and Keyser, W.Va.

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Rotruck was a standout second baseman on the Jefferson High School baseball team and was part of the 2007 state champion team. In his senior year, Rotruck had a .436 batting average, 33 runs batted in and 29 runs scored, Jefferson High baseball coach John Lowery said.

But equally impressive was Rotruck's demeanor, said Lowery, explaining that Rotruck was easily coachable, worked hard and led by example on the field.

Rotruck was attending Potomac State College in Keyser and was on the Potomac State Cats baseball team, Lowery said. Over the weekend, Rotruck hit a home run in a scrimmage game, Lowery said.

"Things were really falling in place for him. He had solid values and knew what he wanted. It's extremely, extremely tragic that something like this happened," Lowery said.

On Wednesday, a memorial to Rotruck appeared on the Jefferson High baseball field behind the school.

Three baseball bats were leaned together over second base and a black ribbon was draped over them. In front of the bats rested a sign that read "Rotruck 24."

Also, a T-shirt with the number 24 and signatures on it was lying in front of second base, and nearby in the infield, large white letters read "RIP Truck 24."

Brandon Rudy, a good friend of Rotruck's, pulled his car up to the field Wednesday evening.

Rudy said he started getting calls about the accident from friends Tuesday night.

"I thought they were just playing around," Rudy said.

Still shocked over the ordeal, Rudy then walked onto the field by himself and stood at the memorial for a few moments before leaving.

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