Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Penn State Sig Ep Dies in Car Crash

Student dies in car crash

Authorities pronounced Penn State student Michael T. McCormick, Jr. and his friend Vincent Simone dead at the scene at about 11 a.m. Sunday morning, said McCormick's mother Karen McCormick.

Simone, 19, was driving McCormick home through a rainstorm on Eagle Rock Avenue, West Orange, N.J., when the small car he was driving collided with a Hummer, Karen McCormick said.

The driver of the other vehicle survived the deadly car accident, Karen McCormick said.

McCormick was two minutes away from home, she said.

His wake is scheduled for 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Dangler Funeral Home in West Orange, and the funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Joseph's Church in West Orange, she said.

McCormick was proud to attend Penn State and loved being a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, his mother said.

The fraternity's Penn State chapter president, Nick Bizzaro, said the members of the fraternity agreed McCormick will never be replaced.

"He was definitely a leader," Bizzaro (senior-bioengineering) said.

"Everyone knew that he had the potential to be something very big in the house."

Bizzaro said the fraternity, 524 Locust Lane, is planning a memorial event in honor of McCormick and looking into starting a philanthropic function in his name in the fall.

Karen McCormick recalled when her son called home after participating in the Interfraternity Council/ Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON).

"He absolutely loved it," she said. "He was like, 'Mom, it was so cool, and I'm so glad I was a part of it.' "

Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers and Penn State Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Roy Baker both said they were thinking of the McCormick family.

"It's a tragedy when a young life is taken," Powers said. "Our thoughts go out to his family and friends."

McCormick is survived by his father, Michael McCormick, Sr.; his 15-year-old sister, Meaghan McCormick; and his mother.

McCormick would have been a sophomore this fall and was studying biology.

For what would become the last birthday gift she gave to her son, Karen McCormick said she gave her son tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld's upcoming Sept. 25 performance in the Eisenhower Auditorium at Penn State.

Seinfeld was McCormick's favorite TV show, and he happily asked her how she knew to get tickets for the show.

"You're my kid -- I know," she said she told him.

She said his family is asking charitable donations be made to the Michael T. McCormick, Jr. Memorial Fund in lieu of flowers.

"It was a freak, tragic accident that took way two young lives," she said. "Hopefully we can make something good out of it."