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Fellow Coach Was First On Scene at Accident

This will probably be my last file here today. Just got off the phone with former Fairmont Heights coach Stefan Gansert, now an Eleanor Roosevelt assistant. He's a professional fire fighter in Fairfax County and a volunteer firefighter in Prince George's. And, in an incredible twist, he was the first on the scene early this morning -- and did not recognize Lynch even though the two have known each other for many years.

Gansert, a division chief at Chapel Oaks Volunteer Fire Department, said he had just finished clearing a house fire in Brandywine and was heading home when a call came over the radio about an accident on Branch Avenue at Brandywine Road.

In his words:

"It was a basic accident. It wasn't hysterical and people all over the place. It was an accident I deal with all the time in my career. When I made contact with the other guy in the pickup truck, I noticed he was hurt. I went over to the other car, the one I now know was Lynch, and I saw him in the car and performed my job and did my job. Just worked it as a scene. I thank god not knowing it was him. He didn't let me recognize it was him because then I don't think I would have been able to do my job."

Gansert said the force of the accident had flung Lynch into the passenger seat and that he was not breathing. Gansert used a backboard to remove Lynch from the car and slid him out. Attempts were made to revive Lynch in an ambulance, but they were unsuccessful.

Gansert said that as he was getting in his car this morning, he noticed an unusual number of voice mail messages on his cell phone. He was getting ready to check the messages when a boys' club coach called and asked what had happened. Gansert thought the question referenced Eleanor Roosevelt's first-round loss in the playoffs after an undefeated regular season, until he was interrupted and told of Lynch's death.

"Then, I knew," Gansert said. "The calls in my head, the cars, seeing Nick in the car."

By Josh Barr  | December 31, 2008; 2:38 PM ET
Categories:  Football  
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