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From the Vault: News from the Wednesday, April 28, 1999, edition of the Press & Journal

Posted 5/2/18

Crash scene becomes memorial; brother and sister killed in accident

Friends and family have created a makeshift memorial for a brother and sister killed in a car accident over the weekend. …

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From the Vault: News from the Wednesday, April 28, 1999, edition of the Press & Journal


Crash scene becomes memorial; brother and sister killed in accident

Friends and family have created a makeshift memorial for a brother and sister killed in a car accident over the weekend.

Flowers, crosses, pictures and notes are piling up near the Vine Street site of the crash that killed 36-year-old Eva Carlson and her 29-year-old brother, Richard Lawson Jr.

“She was a really sweet friend to everyone,” said a friend of Carlson’s who visited the accident scene. “She always had a hug for everyone.”

The friend said those who knew the siblings are meeting at the site, sharing memories and comforting one another.

The scene is not far from Carlson’s Schoolhouse Road home, where she lived with her husband and their son. She worked at J&J Pizza in Middletown for several years.

Lawson, a self-employed fence installer, lived on Ann Street, Middletown, with his parents.

The pair died at the scene of the one-car crash early Saturday, April 24. State Police said Carlson was driving a 1978 Oldsmobile north on Vine Street in Londonderry Township at 12:41 a.m.

Just north of the state Route 283 interchange, Carlson lost control of the vehicle and began sliding sideways, police said. The car traveled across the center concrete median and into the southbound lanes of Vine Street, police said, and went airborne over the west berm.

Police said the car came down in a grassy area but continued to travel in a westerly direction, striking a tree with its rear bumper. It continued moving west, striking another tree on the passenger side of the vehicle, police reported. The car then spun around and stopped, police said.

Carlson and Lawson were pronounced dead at the scene by the Dauphin County coroner. Neither was wearing a seat belt, police said.

The accident is under investigation, but State Police spokesman Trooper Robert Trostle said speed was a factor in the crash.

The roadway was dry at the time, he noted.

Colorado tragedy prompts local review of school district safety

Just how secure are the buildings of the Middletown Area School District?

The question could be heard as often here as in any area of the country, probably, after last week’s rampage by two students in the Littleton, Colorado, high school that left 15 people dead.

Here, the question of security brought a quick and positive response from Lower Swatara Police Chief Richard Malwitz, whose territory includes Middletown Area High School.

“There are pages and pages of state requirements for school security, but the school people go way above and beyond that here,” he declared. “We have an excellent, really outstanding, working relationship. We meaning myself and some of my officers, plus Chief [Keith] Reismiller and his men — sit in on their staff meetings when security is discussed. We learn about what they’re doing and sometimes offer suggestions they might implement.”

School administrators got a first-hand look at the results of that cooperation just about one year ago. In an incident that was not publicized at the time, a student at the high school was arrested moments after administrators called for Malwitz’s help in a threatening situation.

“The response was immediate,” was the way MAHS principal Dennis Iezzi put it.

He agreed, too, with Malwitz’s assessment that there is no possible way to create “a totally secure school, short of locking the buildings completely and making them prisons, which no one wants.”

But while Middletown’s schools are not locked completely, they come closer to that than is true in many other districts.

According to Russ Eppinger, principal at Feaser Middle School, building entrances are locked, with the exception of the main door closest to the main office, as soon as classes begin for the day.

“It’s probably true that very little is impossible,” Eppinger said. “But let’s say it would be very difficult for anyone to come in that door without being seen by someone in the office. The door’s right in front of us.”

However, the perpetrators of school violence — including those in Colorado last week — have been students. It would be normal for them to enter a school.

Eppinger agreed with that, but said there are dress codes and other regulations that would make the concealment of weapons difficult here.

“For instance, we do not allow coats to be worn inside the school,” he said. “And no book bags may be carried inside, either. Those must be in the lockers. You don’t know what’s in a book bag. I’ve had parents call me and ask if I really mean that their kid can’t carry his or her book bag inside, and I tell them, ‘Not unless your child has a broken arm.’ There’s no such thing as a guarantee of safety, but there’s a lot you can do in a preventive way. Then, if anything happens, you just have to hope you make the right decisions.”

No cellphones are permitted in Feaser. And there is an alert code that administrators and teachers know but that, so far, students never have heard. The normal-sounding intercom message, if given, would alert every teacher in the building.

‘Photo 1’ chronicled Middletown happenings for decades

Robert C. Forsyth, 84, of East Roosevelt Avenue, Middletown, passed away Monday, April 26, in the Community General Osteopathic Hospital, Lower Paxton Township.

As photographer for the Press & Journal for more than 20 years, Forsyth, known as “Photo 1,” was a fixture at practically every social function, service club meeting, high school sporting event, fire and car accident in the area.

“Last-minute assignments, phone calls in the wee hours of the morning rain or shine were all part of Bob’s assignment sheets,” said Joe Sukle, publisher of the Press & Journal. “Bob’s photos were community journalism pure and simple — nothing flashy — just a chronicle of the happenings of small-town America. It’s a shame there isn’t a type of Pulitzer Prize for the photographs Bob turned in, week in and week out. He would have been a consistent winner.”

Forsyth was a retired employee of the former New Cumberland Army Depot. He was a member of First Church Of God, Prince Edwin Lodge F&AM, former Scoutmaster for Troop 218 and a former coach for the Middletown Amateur Baseball Association.

He also was a collector of Native American artifacts, photographs, Middletown memorabilia and bottles.

Headlines from the edition

• Over $1,000 taken from business in Lower Swatara

• Board OKs modular classrooms