Two teens killed, one injured in crash
By Jenni Glenn and Lisa Arsen
GLOUCESTER -- Two Gloucester teenagers were killed and a third seriously injured Saturday night when their Jeep launched into the air and smashed into a tree on Western Avenue near Ravenswood Park. The teens were returning from a day of swimming at a Rockport quarry.
Gloucester High School freshman Ashley B. Richard, 16, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her boyfriend and the Jeep's driver, 17-year-old Edward S. Hopkins, was flown to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, where he died early yesterday morning.
Rescue workers freed 19-year-old Kenneth Muise, who was riding in the Jeep's back seat, from the wreckage using a hydraulic rescue tool. After being taken to Addison Gilbert Hospital, the Parker Court resident was flown to Brigham & Women's Hospital, where he was in good condition yesterday.
Hopkins lost control of the 1997 Jeep Cherokee as he was rounding a curve west of the park's entrance on the way into downtown Gloucester, according to a police report. The Jeep veered into the opposite lane and left about 50 feet of skid marks before hitting the tree roof-first, near 412 Western Ave. Firefighters removed the Jeep's crushed roof to extricate Hopkins and Muise.
Richard was wearing a seat belt, but police said Hopkins and Muise were not buckled in during the crash. According to the police report, Muise was found facing the rear of the Jeep but they weren't sure whether he was turned in that direction during the crash.
Gloucester Police Sgt. William Leanos said speed was the cause of the accident. He said early estimates indicate the Jeep was traveling about 57 mph. The posted speed limit is 35 mph. Leanos added that it was too early to tell if alcohol also was a factor. Rescue workers said no evidence of alcohol was found at the scene.
Hopkins was in District Court in February on charges of driving with a suspended license, possession of cocaine and possession of marijuana. He had the charge of driving with a suspended license dismissed. The other charges were continued without a finding for one year. Police found him sleeping in a car parked near the high school and arrested him on Aug. 8, 2003, according to the police report.
Still, Richard's mother, Brenda Richard, said she does not blame Hopkins or anyone else for the crash.
"He treated my daughter like gold," she said.
Hopkins dropped off a third passenger, Richard's best friend, 15-year-old Emily Steadman, at her Western Avenue home minutes before the crash. Steadman said she was not drinking when the group was swimming at the quarry Saturday, but she declined to discuss whether any of the Jeep's occupants had been.
Steadman received a telephone call informing her of the accident about 1 a.m. yesterday. She said she started screaming and ran -- barefoot and still clad in her pajamas -- to the nearby Western Avenue home where Richard lived with her 12-year-old sister, Amanda, and her grandparents.
Richard had been living there for about five years due to the family's financial difficulties, Brenda Richard said. She said she knew something was wrong Saturday when Richard's 11 p.m. curfew passed without her arriving at the house or calling. Brenda Richard said she found out about the accident when she started calling Hopkins' relatives looking for her daughter.
A former member of the high school's Junior ROTC, Richard regretted not putting enough emphasis on her studies, Steadman said. She said Richard was determined to change her life.
"She was having a tough time for a while," Steadman said. But "she wasn't going to skip school anymore, and she was going to pull up her grades."
Richard had dreamed of pursuing a career in cosmetology, Richard's friend, Michelle Trupiano, 15, said.
Hopkins showered her with presents during the six weeks they dated, Steadman said. She said the two had grown very close in a short time. Hopkins gave Richard an Irish Claddagh promise ring for the one-month anniversary of their first date. He brought Richard a bouquet of red and white roses Saturday morning, Steadman said.
Hopkins had left Gloucester High School and worked at his father's business, Ed's Oil Burner Sales and Service, said his friend Dan Turner. He knew Hopkins since childhood because Turner's uncle and Hopkins' father were close friends.
Turner said Hopkins had a wild streak. The Centennial Avenue resident loved doing anything fun and out of the ordinary, Turner said.
"He knew what he liked and knew what he wanted to do," Turner said.
Hopkins' family could not be reached for comment. Hopkins would have turned 18 on May 14.
Grief counselors were to be available for students at Gloucester High School today.
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05-03-2004, 10:54 PM #1
Two teens killed, one injured in crashI dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
05-04-2004, 07:53 AM #2
What a shame........May they rest in peace.John D. Cummings
Safety Lighting and Equipment
05-04-2004, 06:44 PM #3
Re: Two teens killed, one injured in crashHopkins was in District Court in February on charges of driving with a suspended license, possession of cocaine and possession of marijuana. He had the charge of driving with a suspended license dismissed. The other charges were continued without a finding for one year. Police found him sleeping in a car parked near the high school and arrested him on Aug. 8, 2003, according to the police reportEven the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.
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