17-year-old killed in crash

WESTMINSTER, Md. - You can still see the painted lines, the broken glass and the ripped up turf in Darren Sweep's yard where the cars came to rest after the accident on Deer Park Road in Finksburg.

"When the impact happened, it shook my house, and that was my first intention was, 'Okay.  Did someone hit the house or did some type of explosion happen down in my basement or whatever?'" recalled Sweep.

Just across the road, the sound created by the cars' impact Tuesday night startled Teri Thacher and her husband.

"I never heard any brakes or anything.  We just heard a sound," said Thacher, "It sounded like his door was slamming, and he was like, 'I think somebody missed the curve and hit my work truck.'  So he walked out and walked around and when he did he saw the car over there."

Police would later determine that a westbound car had crossed the center line… directly into the path of a Dodge Neon that struck the passenger side killing 17-year-old Michael McVerry---a senior at Westminster High School.

"A lot of the residents around here responded as fast as they could, but there was not really much we could do for the one young man who died," said Sweep.

The twisting two-lane road has a history of accidents, sandwiched between a pair of utility poles in the sweeping curve where there's little room for error.

"There's always someone either hitting the telephone pole or wiping out on this turn because of the gradual turn and not being protected," said Sweep, "We've contacted the county and spoke to state police officials also about maybe putting some type of notice or guard rails to cause youngsters, most of them are youngsters, to slow down, but at this point we haven't seen anything yet."

McVerry was a passenger in the car driven by 18-year-old Nicolas Gaetani who remains at the Shock Trauma Center in serious condition.

The sole occupant of the other car, 21-year-old Levi Malcolm, has been treated and released.

In a letter sent home with students Wednesday, Westminster principal Kenneth J. Gonez asked parents to take some time to address the incident with their children.

"When a classmate dies, it can affect students in a variety of ways," Gonez said. "Some students may report sleep disturbance, appetite problems and/or nightmares. Many students may say that they feel sad, nervous or even guilty..."

Police say there's no sign alcohol or drugs played a role in the crash. Anyone with information is asked that anyone with information call 410-386-5900.

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