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Drebbin
01-02-2005, 02:12 PM
INTELLIGENCER JOURNAL (LANCASTER, PA.)

December 31, 2004, Friday

HEADLINE: Fewer people died on county roads in 2004;
Lititz police chief, LCHS teacher, nine teenagers among crash victims

BYLINE: Brett Lovelace

A police chief, a high school teacher, two young children and nine teenagers were among 56 people killed this year in traffic accidents on Lancaster County roadways.

The number of traffic fatalities is down 12.5 percent from 2003, when 64 people were killed.

Among the fatal accidents, a collision between a motorcycle and a Volkswagen Jetta in Manheim Township took four lives and left a community grieving.

Police determined alcohol was a factor in the June 12 accident on Oregon Pike that killed Christopher Fraile, 16; Seth W. Hampton, 17; Paul E. Waychoff, 36; and Amanda C. Waychoff, 15.

Paul Waychoff, who was driving the motorcycle with his daughter, Amanda, on back, had consumed three to four alcoholic drinks and had a blood-alcohol content of .078 at the time of the accident, police said. The legal limit is .080.

Waychoff also was sleep deprived and driving his motorcycle between 68 mph and 82 mph when it struck a Jetta carrying five teenagers, police said.

Hampton graduated from Manheim Township High School a few days before the accident.

Fraile was a student at the high school and a talented lacrosse player.

Hundreds of people attended services for Hampton and Fraile, and a candlelight shrine remains at the Oregon Pike and Saint Thomas Road intersection where the accident occurred.

The death of a popular teacher at Lancaster Catholic High School also left students and faculty reeling.

Lois Ann Szczepanski, a 48-year-old chemistry teacher, was killed Jan. 21.

Szczepanski was a passenger in a Ford Escort when a tractor-trailer rear-ended the car on Route 30 in East Lampeter Township. She was returning home from a viewing for a deceased former colleague.

A district justice found the truck driver, Andrew Feliciano, 46, guilty of speeding and careless driving.

Feliciano told the magistrate he saw the traffic signal at the Harvest Road intersection turn yellow. He then checked his right and left side mirrors and could not stop his truck in time to avoid the car that had stopped in front of him.

The 31,950-pound tractor-trailer was traveling between 26 mph and 33 mph and made a skid path of 59 feet when it hit the Ford. Leaks were found in the air hoses of two of the tractor-trailer's 10 brakes.

The number of mourners at Szczepanski's memorial services equaled the outpouring of grief for beloved Lititz Borough police Chief Douglas A. Shertzer Sr., 45, who was killed May 11 while on duty.

Shertzer, the police chief for 10 years, was driving a Harley-Davidson motorcycle through East Hempfield Township when a teenager turned her vehicle into his path on Route 741.

The married father of three suffered a torn aorta after being thrown from his motorcycle. He died during surgery at Lancaster General Hospital.

Hundreds of police officers from across Pennsylvania attended the funeral in Lititz.

The police department had leased the motorcycle from Lancaster Harley-Davidson, and the accident occurred the first time Shertzer used it for patrol after completing a training class.

The youngest person killed in a car accident was 7-year-old Jordan Allen "Baby Son" Gomez.

The New Holland Elementary School second-grader enjoyed playing with toy cars, fishing, hanging out with his sister and drawing.

Police charged the boy's mother, Rachel Catherine Gomez, with causing the Feb. 5 accident in New Holland while driving drunk.

Gomez's blood-alcohol content was 0.143 when she crashed a 1994 Pontiac van into a utility pole after driving onto an icy stretch of North Railroad Avenue in Earl Township, police said.

Gomez is free on bail awaiting trial on a charge of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence.

The other child killed in an accident was 10-year-old Amelia Rivera "Popa" Cosme of Lancaster.

She died after a July 6 accident in West Earl Township.

The Carter and MacRae Elementary School student enjoyed listening to music and riding her bicycle.

Two young men were killed after losing control of their motorcycles.

Joseph L. Browand, 19, of Millersville, was killed April 15 after crashing his motorcycle into an oncoming car on Route 999 in Washington Boro.

Browand was a dairy worker and a 2003 Living Word Academy graduate.

Travis Eugene Coble, a 24-year-old service technician for a New Providence rental firm, was killed April 29 while doing a wheelie on Route 741 in Strasburg Township.

The 1999 Lampeter-Strasburg High School graduate was married to Krista Beiler Coble, who gave birth to their only child Oct. 4.

The last person killed in a vehicle accident in 2004 was a 16-year-old Maryland girl.

Megan V. Bartdorf, of Annapolis, died at Lancaster General Hospital after crashing a 1989 Chevrolet Corvette on Route 222 in Fulton Township Dec. 17.

Bartdorf, a junior at Gunston Day School in Centerville, Md., was a stage actress, competitive swimmer and basketball player.

She lost control of the Corvette on a curve and collided with a dump truck. A 17-year-old girl riding with Bartdorf suffered minor injuries.
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