The Perryville community was in mourning this week as they remembered Cody Richardson, an athlete, friend, son and sibling who was killed in a car crash last week.
Mr. Richardson, a recent Perryville High School graduate and 2011 state track champion, was a passenger in his friend's SUV on July 13 when the vehicle veered off Red Toad Road near North East and rolled several times. He died at Union Hospital inElkton.
Steven Thornton, of Port Deposit, a teammate and friend of Mr. Richardson who also recently graduated from Perryville High School, was driving at the time of the crash and sustained serious non-life-threatening injuries. The second passenger, Brady Alan McDaniel, 18, of Colora, was also taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The 18-year-old Mr. Richardson was laid to rest this week following services Tuesday at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Aberdeen.
"He might have been the most hardworking kid I've ever known," Kelsey Diehl, hurdles coach for Perryville High School, said Wednesday. Mr. Richardson was one of the state's best hurdlers.
Diehl was tearful as she shared her memories of the teen.
"He changed my life not only as a person, but also in my professional outlook," Diehl said. "I tried to make an impact in his life, but he made a huge impact in mine."
Jake Moore, head coach for cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field teams for Perryville, also had nothing but good things to say about Mr. Richardson.
"He's tough to wrap up because he really was a good kid," Moore said.
Moore spoke at Mr. Richardson's funeral service Tuesday and said he was honored to be one of three people asked to speak.
Moore said he first met Mr. Richardson's sister, Cara Richardson.
"His sister was a state champion as an athlete for Perryville and her younger brother came along and freshmen year he played baseball," Moore said.
After the season ended, Mr. Richardson participated in a winter fitness program, and Moore said he saw Mr. Richardson's talent for track and field start to show.
"It just seemed like it was meant to be," Moore said.
As a sophomore, Mr. Richardson joined the track team, but it took a while for him to become its star.
"He had so many setbacks," Moore said, adding, "every time he'd get down he'd just get back up."
Moore said the young man faced memory challenges as well as challenges meeting self-set goals.
"He had trouble at birth and one of the long term effects that he had, basically the only thing, was forgetfulness," Moore said.
Moore explained the coaching staff would write events on Mr. Richardson's hand and write out workout regimens so he wouldn't forget. He added that there was hardly a time Mr. Richardson didn't forget his uniform or lock his shoes in the car.
"Sometimes it was a blessing and sometimes it was a curse, the kid could never stay mad because he couldn't remember what he was mad about," Moore said.