St. Frances Academy junior Lamar Patterson, a standout wide receiver and cornerback on the school’s top-ranked football team, died in a car crash on his way to school Wednesday morning, the school’s principal, Dr. Curtis Turner, confirmed.
A native of Kissimmee, Florida, who transferred to St. Frances in 2019, the 17-year-old Patterson was rated a three-star prospect for the 2023 class by Rivals.com, which showed he had scholarship offers from 21 schools, including Penn State, Michigan, Arizona State, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia.
According to Anne Arundel County police, officers responded at 9:10 a.m. to the area of Maple Road West and Camp Meade Road in Linthicum for a crash involving a Maryland Transit Administration light rail train. Police said, according to witnesses, that a 2003 Honda Accord traveling eastbound on Maple Road did not stop for the lowering gates, flashing red lights and the train’s horn and continued to drive, causing the light rail train to strike the passenger side of the vehicle.
After reviewing video footage Thursday, Anne Arundel traffic safety investigators said they are looking into the possibility of operator error on the part of the MTA train operator. The train entered the roadway as the gates were in the process of lowering, police said.
Patterson was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said there were no passengers on the light rail train other than the conductor, who was uninjured.
There is no evidence of alcohol or drug use by anyone involved in the crash, according to police.
In a letter the school sent out to the St. Frances Academy family around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, it was announced that class would be dismissed at 1 p.m. and grief counselors would be made available. St. Frances administrators did not provide any further comment Wednesday afternoon.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the St. Frances Academy Football program and all of those who have been affected by the sudden loss of Lamar Patterson, a bright and talented young man with so much life ahead of him,” Maryland football coach Mike Locksley tweeted Wednesday night.
St. Frances dealt with tragedy in April when Aaron Wilson, a star defensive end who was ranked among the state’s top Class of 2022 prospects, died at the age of 17 after a battle with brain cancer.
“Please wake me up from this nightmare,” St. Frances football coach Messay Hailemariam tweeted Wednesday. “You are #Panther4lyfe i know for a fact that you are in heaven with my other goon Aaron Wilson … may you Rest In Peace Lamar Patterson I love you soooooo much!!!!
Before arriving at St. Frances, Patterson was a star at Kissimmee Liberty, where he still holds the school record for the longest interception return on a 102-yard pick-six. According to the Orlando Sentinel, he reclassified to the Class of 2023 because of COVID-19 and a broken foot that cost him playing time.
Condolences poured in on social media from St. Frances teammates and coaches and the high school football community at large.
“Long Live LP,” Panthers running back Terron Kellman wrote in announcing his decision to commit to Northern Illinois on National Signing Day. “I love you lil bro.”
“I love you forever,” wide receivers coach Ryan Burbrink tweeted.
St. Frances football went 8-1 during the fall season to finish No. 1 in The Baltimore Sun’s Top 15 poll. Nationally, the Panthers finished No. 4 in the final USA Today Super 25 rankings and No. 7 by MaxPreps.
Baltimore Sun staff contributed to this article.