Midshipman dies after skateboard accident – The News Journal

ANNAPOLIS — A 20-year-old Naval Academy midshipman has died after a skateboarding accident at Assateague Island National Seashore.

Academy officials said Hans Loewen of Hampstead, N.C., died while in a coma at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore with his family by his side.

Loewen suffered a devastating head injury in a skateboarding accident while on a camping trip with other midshipmen at Assateague Island National Seashore. He was treated at the scene and then taken to the Baltimore trauma center.

According to Lt. Ed Schreier, a spokesman for the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, the accident happened between 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on March 22. Loewen was riding his skateboard while holding onto the driver’s side of the Jeep. The vehicle was traveling about 15 mph, and held the driver and two passengers, all of whom also attend the Naval Academy.

The left rear tire came in contact with the skateboard, which caused the victim to be ejected from the skateboard, Schreier said. He hit the side of the Jeep, then he hit the ground, then the left rear tire ran over his head.

When asked if the midshipmen had been drinking, Schreier replied: “Alcohol is a factor. We’re trying to determine how much.”

Schreier also said police have to subpoena the victim’s medical records to get the victim’s blood-alcohol concentration levels.

The driver of the Jeep was Brandon Ah, 20, of Virginia. Schreier said Ah had been consuming alcohol at the time of the accident. No criminal charges have been filed at this time in Worcester County against Ah, according to a search of online court records.

Ted Morlock, a National Park Service Ranger at Assateague, said the accident occurred on Bayside Drive, a road that leads to campsites and to Chincoteague Bay. Morlock said skateboarding in that area of the park is not permitted, day or night, and that Loewen’s skateboarding while hanging onto a car is also illegal.

Morlock said he’s unaware of any motor-vehicle-related fatality at Assateague in the nine years he’s been working at the park.

Naval Academy Superintendent Michael Miller issued a statement saying Loewen was a vibrant midshipman who lived life to the fullest.

Loewen was a midshipman third class and oceanography major at the academy. He was involved with the academy’s adventure racing team, rock climbing club and the American Nuclear Society.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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