Decatur Student Killed Days Before Start Of Senior Year

BERLIN – Tragedy struck early yesterday morning when a local teen was killed in a single-vehicle accident on Route 50 east of Route 589 just days before beginning her senior year at Stephen Decatur High School.

Around 1 a.m. on Thursday, Maryland State Police troopers responded to a reported fatal motor vehicle accident on Route 50 east of Route 589. Upon arrival, troopers interviewed a witness, who told them the driver of the 2002 Ford Explorer, later identified as Jessica Lauren Petsche, 17, of Berlin, swerved, left the roadway and rolled over multiple times.

The investigation revealed Petsche had just completed work at her job for the evening and was on her way home. Petsche would have started her senior year at Decatur on Tuesday. Among many other things, she was an active member of the Seahawks cheerleading squad and a tennis player at the school.

News of the accident stunned the Stephen Decatur campus readying for the start of a new school year next Tuesday, according to Principal Lou Taylor.

“It’s a tragedy,” he said yesterday. “Everybody involved with Stephen Decatur and the entire Stephen Decatur family is deeply saddened by this. Our hearts and souls go out to her family. This is something that hurts us as a family as we get ready for another school year.”

Taylor said Petsche would be sorely missed. “Jessica was a wonderful young lady,” he said. “She was deeply involved in anything and everything at Decatur and very much a part of our extended family. She was very well respected as a member of the student body.”