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County stunned by commissioner's untimely death

Kerr died at scene of single-vehicle crash returning from Pa. on Friday

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- The sudden death of Frederick County Planning Commissioner Gregory S. Kerr over the weekend continues to shock the community he served.

Kerr, 41, of 206 Meade Drive, died in a single-vehicle crash late Friday night in Huntingdon, Pa. A Pennsylvania State Police report states Kerr drove a Ford F150 pickup on Pa. 655 while transporting a race truck on a trailer.

The truck left the road. When he tried to bring the vehicles back over, the trailer caused them to jackknife, the report states, which then ejected Kerr out the driver's side window. Kerr, who was not wearing a seat belt, was struck by the trailer and died at the scene, according to police.

Kerr was bringing a race truck from a mechanic in Pennsylvania during heavy rain, his mother-in-law said Monday. Kerr and his wife, Jill Moler Kerr, have three children -- Ann Bailey, 12, Gunner Douglas, 14, and Tanner Scott, 17. Kerr served as vice president of the Hagerstown Quarter Midget Association. Their children have all participated in Quarter Midget racing.

"To those that knew him, Greg was a selfless, gracious and dedicated member of our racing family," a message on the Hagerstown Quarter Midget Association's Web site states. "He was ... truly dedicated to making our sport about the kids. He will be deeply, deeply missed."

Red Bud District Supervisor Philip A. Lemieux nominated Kerr in 2006 to serve as commissioner for the district. Kerr also served as the commission's liaison to the Winchester-Frederick County Economic Development Commission.

Commission Chairwoman June Wilmot said Kerr, still relatively new to the panel, would often help the group stay on track.

"You know from my perch, I could see him, he was just beginning to groove," Wilmot recalled. "It seemed to me ... when he said something, it sort of cut through everything else that was going on or being discussed.

"When there was conflict, he would just come in -- he was just a steady-as-she-goes kinda person and he would come in and say some really fine things to cut through it and sort of got everybody back on what the real question was."

The chairwoman received word of Kerr's death in a phone call from Shawnee District Supervisor Gene Fisher early Saturday morning.

News of Kerr's death came a shock to Wilmot and others.

"Obviously there have been commissioners who have passed away basically because they've lived a good life and a long life," Wilmot said. "He was living a good life, took care of his family ... he committed himself to caring about the public and served on the planning commission, which was notable."

"Here he worked out of town, with teenage kids, et cetera, et cetera, and yet he had time for us," Wilmot added.

County Administrator John Riley Jr. said a Red Bud District supervisor would need to nominate an appointee to replace Kerr. That process is not a priority at the moment, Riley said.

"I think we need to grieve the loss of Mr. Kerr and what he's brought to the county and give our support to his family and then we can move on with the rest of this at some point in the future," he said. "Obviously I was aware of it and it's a tragic loss. A fine young man."

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