CHARLESTOWN, N.H. — A Newport teenager was struck and killed by a vehicle Friday night while attempting to retrieve a deer from the road.
Adam Pysz, 17, died from his injuries.
Pysz and David Cummings, 32, of Claremont had stopped their van in the northbound lane of Route 12 and were attempting to move a deer out of the roadway near Windy Acres at about 7 p.m., New Hampshire State Police said in a statement.
As the men were moving the deer, a Ford Ranger pickup driven by Benjamin Watkins, 24, of Springfield, Vt., swerved to avoid hitting the van, hitting the men instead, state police said.
The victims were taken to Valley Regional Hospital in Claremont, state police said. Watkins was uninjured.
Pysz died at the hospital. Cummings was later flown to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon by helicopter, state police said.
A nursing supervisor at the hospital said Cummings was listed in fair condition.
It is not believed that speed or alcohol were factors in the crash, state police said.
Saturday night, Pysz’s father and stepmother were still trying to digest what had happened to Adam, whom they both described as shy but loving.
“He just loved to do things with family,” said Suzanne Pysz. “He had a few close friends that were like brothers, and family, they were most important to him.”
Adam was beginning to make plans for what he would do after graduating from Newport High School next summer, his father, Andrew E. Pysz, said.
“I believe he wanted to go into fish and game, and he’d talked about going into the military,” he said. “He thought about seeing the world, and I was hoping he was going to do that.”
Andrew Pysz said Adam was “a boy of few words” who loved being outdoors and had a special affection for animals.
“He was interested in any type of animal,” he said. “He had a soft heart for them. If something was hurt, he’d bring it in. He even saved a bunch of leeches in a bucket once when we were up in Maine.”
Suzanne Pysz said Adam loved to fish, camp, and just recently took up hunting.
“He always had all kinds of little critters he was always raising, dogs, snakes, iguanas, the bird with the broken wing type of kid,” she said. “Sweet, shy, genuine.”
Adam’s younger sisters, twins Kennedy and Anna, 12, who turn 13 this week, were looking forward to entering high school so they could spend more time with their brother.
“This was the one year that they were going to be in high school together,” she said. “He was proud to have his two cute little sisters up there. His little sister called him ‘the big hearted giant.’”
Adam and Cummings were coworkers at a cleaning company, and were part of a convoy headed home from a job when the accident occurred, Suzanne Pysz said.
Initial reports indicated the deer had already been hit when the victims approached, but Suzanne said the deer essentially hit them.
“It came at them, so they didn’t even really have time to react,” she said. “It ended up flying over the van, and landed behind the van.”
A separate van carrying coworkers also pulled over to help Pysz and Cummings handle the deer before the crash occurred, she said.
Andrew Pysz said it’s going to be a difficult birthday for Adam’s sisters.
“And with the holidays coming up ... it’s not going to be so fun,” he said.
It’s impossible to know what other families are going through when tragedy strikes, until it happens to you, Suzanne Pysz said.
“You stand here, and you hear about these things happening, sometimes to people you know, not knowing what to say,” she said. “And you just thank your lucky stars it wasn’t one of your kids. Now, here we are pacing our kitchen, and it’s happened to us.”
The Pyszes are asking friends and family to make donations in Adam’s memory to the Upper Valley Humane Society, or any other humane society.
Kyle Jarvis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org