OCEAN CITY, Md. - One look at Matthew Cheswick's photos and it's easy to see how the Howard County young man got his nickname. Cheswick family friend Emma Ebeling says, "They called him Cheese or Smiles because he had this huge, exuberant smile. He was always smiling."
But Matthew's friends and family are finding it tough to smile after learning the 22-year-old was killed while vacationing with friends in Ocean City. Police say he was trying to cross Coastal Highway overnight Monday when he was hit by a drunk driver near 54th street. Ebeling says she found out through Facebook, "I saw RIP Matt and looked over and then I saw everyone posted on his wall and I was in shock."
Matthew's wall is now a tribute to the positive life he led, with friends posting messages and memories about the guy who brought so much joy to their lives. Cheswick, a 2008 graduate of Glenelg High School, and a Towson student, was spending the summer working concerts at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Ebeling says, "He had a great life. He was a great kid. It's just not fair."
Cheswick’s death was a tragic end to what was supposed to be a fun weekend with friends. According to police in Ocean City, he was struck by a car around 1:20am Monday. 30-year-old Diogo Facchini of Virginia reportedly hit Matthew while driving northbound in the bus lane. Ebeling tells ABC2, "He left. He just kept driving. I can't imagine hitting someone and just [keep] going."
But for Matthew's family, life has come to a complete stop. Neighbors in the Riggs Meadows community in Cooksville where Cheswick lived, say his family was on their own vacation in Virginia when they got the news. Ebeling says Matt’s kid brother, Luke, is taking the news very hard, “He said, ‘I don't know how I'm going to get over this’. They were really close and he was just like I just want to be with my big brother one last time."
Facchini, who was not injured, has been charged with homicide by a motor vehicle while intoxicated, leaving the scene of a fatal collision and other charges. Police say he was speeding when he hit Matthew and was arrested after witnesses chased down his car.
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