Sheriff: Alcohol a factor in Hampstead midshipman's accident

BERLIN, MD (AP) -- The Worcester County, MD, Sheriff's Office says alcohol was a factor in the skateboarding accident that claimed the life of a 20-year-old Naval Academy midshipman from Pender County.

Lt. Ed Schreier says Hans Loewen of Hampstead was holding on to a Jeep while riding a skateboard on March 22 during a camping trip with other midshipmen at Assateague Island National Seashore. Schreier says the Jeep was traveling about 15 mph when the skateboard and tire touched, throwing Loewen from the board and the tire ran over his head. He died Saturday while in a coma.

Schreier says alcohol is a factor in the incident but investigators are gathering more details. He says the driver of the Jeep had been drinking alcohol, but any decision on charges is up to prosecutors.

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No matter the cause, my sympathies go out to his family, fiancee and friends.

I just cringe when I think about this tragic event. These young men and women work so hard at the academies and to have this happen is dreadful. My son is a Plebe at West Point and decided to come home for spring break instead of going off with the gang. I am so happy he does not drink at all and never has. You can just look at this young man and know he was going to do good things.