Smithsburg High senior killed in crash

February 09, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

SMITHSBURG -- An 18-year-old Smithsburg High School senior was killed Monday when the vehicle he was driving crashed in the 22000 block of Jefferson Boulevard, Maryland State Police said in a news release.

At about 3:30 a.m., a 1997 Chevrolet Blazer driven by Andrew Jackson Jones of McDowell Avenue, Hagerstown, was traveling westbound on Jefferson Boulevard when Jones lost control of the vehicle, which left the roadway, overturned and caught on fire, Maryland State Police said.

A 15-year-old passenger was injured and taken by ambulance to Washington County Hospital, the release said.

On Monday evening, a makeshift memorial marked the spot where Jones' vehicle burned. Artificial roses were planted in the soil around the large scorch mark in front of a brick home, and balloons with the phrases "Thinking of You" and "I Love You" were attached to a bouquet of flowers. The poem "Footprints in the Sand" was on one balloon.


Shannon Snyder was home with her boyfriend, Merrill Cromwell, when they heard a loud sound at about 3:30 a.m. Monday, she said.

Cromwell looked out the window and saw a vehicle on fire in the front yard, the couple said.

Snyder called 911 while Cromwell rushed outside.

The flames were high by the time he got to the vehicle, Cromwell said.

The driver was entangled in the seat belt and pinned underneath the vehicle, which was upright facing the road and in flames, Snyder said.

Jones' passenger, the 15-year-old, was already pulling on Jones' body trying to get him out of the vehicle, Cromwell said.

"I'm a father," Cromwell said. "I thought, let's try to keep him from burning."

Snyder got a knife and cut Jones out of the seat belt while Cromwell tried to hook up a garden hose to put out the flames, the couple said.

That's when firefighters arrived, Cromwell said.

"I'm very glad the fire company got here as soon as they did," he said.

The passenger, a freshman at Smithsburg, said they were driving from Smithsburg toward Hagerstown, Snyder said.

She took the boy inside until paramedics arrived and took him out on a stretcher, Snyder said.

The boy had visible cuts and was probably in shock, but didn't appear to be too badly injured, Cromwell said.

Cromwell said the vehicle probably rolled across several yards of lawn before it landed in the middle of their yard. A yellow road sign and mailbox, which had been upright the night before, appear to have been knocked over in the crash, he said. Chunks of grass were uprooted every few yards between the signs and the scorch mark in front of the house.

Troopers said the crash appears to have been caused by speed and alcohol.

Jones transferred to Smithsburg High School in the middle of last year, said Todd Ullery, an assistant principal.

Efforts to reach Jones' parents were unsuccessful.

Jones played varsity football and had taken on a full academic schedule. He planned to graduate in the spring, Ullery said.

"He was popular with the students," Ullery said. "He knew a lot of the kids here."

Last time he spoke with Jones, the teenager indicated that he wanted to attend Towson University, where he was considering studying business, Ullery said.

Attached to one of the roses at the memorial Monday was a picture of Jones in his number 76 football jersey.

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