By Danny Schrafel
An East Northport teen, described as a standout student at John Glenn High School, died after crashing into a light post during a sledding accident in Huntington, Suffolk County Police confirmed Monday.
As of Tuesday, his was the first confirmed death in the aftermath of this week’s blizzard, which dumped over a foot of snow in most of Huntington.
Police said Sean Urda, 17, was one of three teens taking turns snow-tubing down Chester Court in Huntington. Tragedy struck after Urda got on the tube, apparently lost control and crashed into a light pole at approximately 10 p.m.
Greenlawn Fire Rescue rushed Urda to Huntington Hospital; he was pronounced dead on arrival.
When fire rescuers arrived, First Assistant Chief Kurt Allen, who responded to the call, said a police paramedic was already performing CPR in a desperate attempt to save the teen. Ambulance crews were on standby and were on the scene within 4 minutes, Allen said.
“We were trying to get him to the hospital as quickly as possible,” he said.
Urda was a senior at John Glenn High School, where his performance on the varsity boys soccer team stood out in his role as a defender.
In a statement, Elwood Superintendent Peter Scordo said Urda excelled athletically as a varsity player on Glenn’s varsity soccer and lacrosse teams; academically as an AP scholar; and in service to his school community as a member of John Glenn High School’s Natural Helpers peer counseling program.
Urda was also involved in the National Honor Society, the LOTE (Languages Other Than English) Honor Society, and the school’s band and marching band. He also worked, volunteered for Project HOPE and served as a youth soccer coach.
“If you had to pick those students who were well-liked and well-rounded, Sean would be at the top of that list,” said Interim High School Principal Dr. James Ruck. “He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.”
Teachers described Sean as bright, funny, kind-hearted and dedicated.
“I watched Sean grow from a young middle school boy into a wonderful young man,” teacher Diane Locascio said. “I feel privileged to have been a part of his life.”
Scordo said the district is “extremely saddened to learn of the tragic passing.”
Grief counselors were to be made available to staff and students for as long as needed once classes resumed after the blizzard.