Annapolis High track coach dies of injuries in roadway accident

An Annapolis High School assistant track and cross country coach died of injuries she suffered when the bicycle she was riding collided with a vehicle, according to Anne Arundel County police.

Patricia Cunningham, 50, of Annapolis died late Wednesday after the accident on Riva Road in Davidsonville, police said.

County public schools spokesman Bob Mosier said the school system experienced "a really tough day" after learning of the accident Thursday. He said Cunningham had coached at the school for the past two years.

"She was well known, well liked," Mosier said.

Mosier said that although school doesn't start until next week, some students involved in fall sports were already at the Annapolis High campus.

"In addition to reaching out to the family, we immediately deployed some additional counselors and counseling resources to the school to help students and staff members cope with this tragic news," he said. "Our focus [Thursday] has been to help students and staff and to help the family to provide any type of resources or assistance we can provide."

Erik Westlund, head coach of the school's cross country team, heard of Cunningham's death just before practice started Thursday and had to break the news to the team.

"It's tough. I was so shocked that I was losing it just announcing it," Westlund said. He told the students they could go home and skip practice for the day, but they all stayed. "They immediately just all went running. It probably helps," he said.

Westlund said Cunningham, the only female coach for the team, worked well with students, He said Cunningham's three children have been involved in running at Annapolis High, including her youngest daughter, a freshman who just joined the cross country team.

Police said that at 5:23 p.m. Wednesday, officers responded to a report of a crash on Riva Road near Beards Point Road. Police say both Cunningham and the vehicle were traveling in the southbound lane of Riva Road.

Cunningham was taken to Anne Arundel Medical Center, where she died, police said.

The driver of vehicle, Whitney Anne Decesaris, 37, of Huntingtown, was uninjured and remained at the scene, police said. Police said neither alcohol nor speed appeared to be factors. No charges have been filed.

The accident marks the second time this year Annapolis High has lost a member of its teaching community. In May, student teaching intern Hannah LeBlanc died in an automobile accident in Boston.

 

The accident was the second fatality on Anne Arundel roads this week. On Thursday, county police identified the victim in a fatal hit-and-run that occurred Tuesday as a 20-year-old Pasadena woman.

Samantha Nichole Kreppel was found by the side of Bayside Beach Road near Belhaven Avenue in Pasadena on Tuesday evening, police said. She died after being hit by a vehicle; the driver fled the scene, police said.

Police are looking for the car that hit Kreppel; they say they believe it is a 1982 to 1985 Mercedes-Benz 300, 400 or 500 series. Police say the car might have right front damage as well as hood, fender and glass damage.

Anyone with information was asked to call 410-222-8573 or 410-222-8610.