Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Snowplow operator accidently kills his best friend

Jerry Vayda joined Sig Ep when he attended UNH. His death this week is one of those awful ironies that happen sometimes.
At age 25, Jerry Vayda was already acting like the head of his household.

He was the first college graduate in his family, with plans to go to medical school. When his father fractured his spinal cord in a motorcycle accident in August, Vayda ran the family construction business and oversaw his dad's recovery.
Jerry Vayda, who lived in Gilmanton, died early Sunday morning, after being hit by a plow truck driven by his best friend on Route 140 in Alton. The accident was a few dozen feet from his father's crash.

Family and friends said that Vayda would surely have achieved bigger things. He was confident he would become a doctor, his goal since childhood. He also made time for his loved ones. He had planned to marry his girlfriend after becoming a doctor, and he was living with his parents to help them after his father's accident.

The morning he died, Vayda was walking home from J.P. China, a restaurant in Alton. He and his girlfriend, Katie Bamberger, had been arguing over "stupid things," she said. [...]Instead of riding home with Katie, he decided to walk the seven miles back to Gilmanton.

Benson, driving the same truck he had used to plow the driveways for the Vaydas last week, struck his best friend, who was in the "travel portion" of the road, said Sgt. Ryan Heath of the Alton Police Department. The police haven't filed charges but are still investigating.

Vayda's mother, Dian, said she spoke to Benson at the crash site and told him that she understood it was an accident.
Though he played hockey and water-skied as a child, then pledged to Sigma Phi Epsilon at the University of New Hampshire, he always remained focus on his goal of becoming a doctor.

"Everyone said it was so easy for him, but what they didn't see was that when he would come home from school, he would be inside studying while everyone else was outside playing," his mother said.

Vayda graduated in 2005 with a degree in biology, making the chancellor's list. He planned to start medical school in August and become an orthopedic surgeon. His dream was to start a clinic with his girlfriend as the manager and a friend as a pharmacist.
Crash victim recalled as family's anchor