Accident Stuns a School

Princeton Packet
27 May 1981

Accident stuns a school

by Sue Allen
Staff Writer

The atmosphere at the Hun School was termed “very, very low” by a school administrator this week, as students and faculty waited anxiously for word on the critical condition of three senior students injured in an automobile accident last Friday evening near midnight.

Two of the victims were reported improving by late Tuesday, but one continued near death, said another school spokesman.

Still on a respirator and life support system after four days was James Patrick (Pat) McNamara, 19, of Rome. N.Y. He was to have been given an EEG examination at 7 p.m. Tuesday evening, after which time the report would be given to his physicians regarding further treatment.

THE DRIVER of the 1973 Mercury station wagon, which was totally demolished. was John McGee, 18, of Wynnewood, Penn. He reportedly underwent surgery for a broken nose Tuesday. A heart contusion apparently corrected itself, said a school spokesman.

The other victim was Joseph Goulazian, 17, of Yardley. Penn., who suffered facial injuries, a broken arm and a concussion. John may be released from the hospital Wednesday, and Joseph could be out of intensive care Tuesday or Wednesday. said a hospital official late Tuesday.

According to police reports, the vehicle was proceeding along a straight section of Quaker Bridge Road toward U.S. 1 when it went off the right side of the road and hit a large tree. After another 141 feet, the car hit another tree, skidded 18 feet and Hipped over, coming to rest on the opposite side of the roadway on its roof. 37 feet from the tree. The roof on the passenger’s side was collapsed by a concrete culvert on which it landed.

Rescue squads from Princeton and Lawrence took more than an hour to remove the victims from the vehicle.

“We were lucky in one way.” said Sgt. Anthony Nini of the Princeton Township police. “The road was lightly traveled at the time, so there was no multiple car accident. And those who did come by had CB radios and were able to help. We had lots of people there.”

WHILE NO official results of tests for alcohol will be disclosed for several more days, school and police officials arc still not ruling out that the accident could have been alcohol-related.

“I don’t know if alcohol involved.” said Hun headmaster Gerald Donaldson, who had spent most of the last four days at the hospital and with the boys and their families. “Certainly we are concerned with the way young people tend to celebrate.”

Hun seniors had been given the “day off Friday as a reward for their successful
completion of a high school career.

“I would like to be able to make a statement about the cause of the accident. It would be so much easier if we knew why it happened.” said Headmaster Donaldson.

After close investigation of the accident scene, he commented that his perspective. the road did not have an adequate berm on the side. “If you once went off the road.” he said, “you couldn’t be able to get off the shoulder. The tree is within three feet of the road. There are lots of unexplained things here.”

Meanwhile, the school is planning a special memorial service for the critically-injured McNamara, should a decision have been made regarding his removal from the respirator Tuesday night. The McNamara family consulted with physicians earlier in the day Tuesday, and it was thought by school officials that a decision had been made about the donation of Patrick’s kidneys. The hospital would not comment.

“THE McNAMARAS were all trying to think of anything positive that could come out of this terrible thing.” said a greatly saddened Donaldson. “The students. too. arc very emotional. They’re very close, they all live together, like brothers and sisters. It’s like thinking of losing a member of your family.”

The cause of the accident is continuing to be investigated.

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