Smithsburg High senior has died following accident at Municipal Stadium

Mitchell Akers, 18, was working for Suns when accident occurred Tuesday

April 12, 2012|By DAN DEARTH |
  • Mitchell Akers
File photo

An 18-year-old Smithsburg High School senior has succumbed to injuries he suffered in an accident while working for the Hagerstown Suns at Municipal Stadium on Tuesday.

Mitchell Ronald Akers, of 109 Rachels Court in Smithsburg, died Wednesday night, according to Smithsburg High and Suns officials.

Smithsburg High Athletic Director Teresa Bachtell said school officials read a statement to students Thursday morning informing them that Akers had died Wednesday night.

She said grief counselors were called to the school to help students deal with the tragedy.

“He was a great kid. He had a lot of school spirit,” Bachtell said. “If he wasn’t playing on the field or participating, he was the main cheerleader.”

Akers sustained a head injury Tuesday morning when he fell from a four-wheel-drive vehicle while working at Municipal Stadium on Memorial Boulevard in Hagerstown, according to city police  officers who were called to the scene following the 10:13 a.m. accident.


An investigation determined that Akers was riding on top of garbage bags in the back of a John Deere Gator when the driver rounded a left-hand turn in the parking lot, according to a report obtained Thursday from the Hagerstown Police Department.

Police said another person was riding in the front seat of the vehicle.

Akers was taken by ambulance to Meritus Medical Center east of Hagerstown with what police said at the time was a fractured skull.

Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith said earlier Thursday morning that Akers had been transferred to a hospital in Washington, D.C.

Akers’ obituary said he died at Washington Hospital Center.

He was the son of Richard and Ann Akers.

Maryland Occupational Safety and Health, or MOSH, learned about the accident on Wednesday from a newspaper story and subsequently launched an investigation, according to Shannon Davis, a Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation spokeswoman.

“Everything is confidential until the investigation is complete,” Davis said.

A Suns representative, who declined to provide her name, said she didn’t know why the organization, a Single-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, didn’t report the accident to MOSH.

“Obviously, we were all shaken up,” she said.

The representative said Akers was a seasonal employee.

She said the ball club’s only comment would be a prepared statement.

“It’s a very sad day within the Hagerstown Suns organization,” the statement said. “We are sorry to inform our fans and employees that Mitchell Akers passed away (Wednesday) evening. Mitchell was a well-respected and well-liked young man within our organization and the community. We will miss him greatly and our prayers and thoughts go out to his family. May God bless Mitchell Akers.”

Akers played football and wrestled for the Smithsburg Leopards, Bachtell said. He also was a lacrosse player, but didn’t go out for the team this year because of a shoulder injury.

Bachtell said that to remember their friend, about 80 percent of the student body on Thursday wore orange, which was Akers’ favorite color.

“He was one-of-a-kind,” Smithsburg football coach Buddy Orndorff said. “He was a very fun-loving boy. He didn’t complain.”

Orndorff said Akers played defensive end and was a perennial athlete who lifted weights in the summer to prepare for football.

“It’s a real tragedy and a real shame,” he said.

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