Courier-Post, June 14, 1999



Mount Laurel accident kills 2 teens

Courier-Post staff

MOUNT LAUREL - Two 16-year-olds died and two other teen-agers were seriously injured when the car they were riding in skidded off Fostertown Road and slammed into two trees Saturday night.

William "Billy" Dukes Jr., 16, of Mount Laurel, was pronounced dead at the scene. Andrew "Drew" Rubel, 16, of Clementon, was rushed to Cooper Hospital/University Medical Center, Camden, where he later died.

The driver of the 1995 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Justin Ramsden, 17, and the front-seat passenger, Anna Marie Pinkavitch, 16, both of Mount Laurel, also were taken to Cooper, where they were listed in stable condition Sunday night.

Police said neither alcohol nor drugs appeared to be involved in the accident, which happened about 10:45 p.m. along a straight stretch of road just north of Route 38. A light mist was falling at the time, police said. The crash remains under investigation.

Dukes, a sophomore at Lenape High School in Medford, was the only son of Mount Laurel Fire Chief William Dukes Sr.

His death is the second time in just over two months that the school has been rocked by tragedy. On April 6, former Lenape student Amanda Geiger was killed in a car crash in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., which also took the lives of three of her friends.

Dukes was a good student and worked part time at Best Buy in Mount Laurel, a family friend said.

"He always had a smile on his face," said Deputy Fire Chief Don Murray, who spoke on the family's behalf Sunday. "He never had a bad thing to say about anybody . . . He was the kind of 16-year-old I wanted my son to hang out with, or be friends with."

Counseling sessions were held for the fire department, Murray said, including some firefighters who responded to the accident scene.

"I'm still trying to come to grips with it," Murray said.

Dukes is also survived by his mother, Geraldine, and his 17-year-old sister, Melissa.

Dukes loved music and played electric guitar with his friend Rubel. The teen-agers used to play gigs at VFW halls and give the proceeds to charity, relatives said.

They were more like brothers than friends, said Frankie Rubel, Drew's father.

Rubel was a popular sophomore at Paul VI High School, Haddon Township, where he played football, wrestled and threw the shot put and discus on the track team, his father said, adding he was also an honors student. He attended St. Lawrence Church in Lindenwold.

"He was pretty much the perfect kid," said Frankie Rubel. "He had a good blend of intelligence, compassion, friendship . . . He was just a very well-rounded kid."

Paul VI head football coach Phil Caracciolo said Rubel was a promising young lineman, but will be remembered more for his kindness.

"He was a very compassionate kid," Caracciolo said. "He had a real big heart. He was really well-loved by all his classmates.

"They're pretty much in shock," he said of Rubel's teammates' reaction to news of his death. "Andy was a part of their lives and it's going to be a while before they can grasp that that part of their life is gone."

Besides his father, Rubel is survived by his mother, Betty, and his 13-year-old sister, Lindsay. Funeral arrangements for Rubel were incomplete Sunday.

A Mass of Christian Burial for Dukes will be celebrated Wednesday at 11 a.m. at St. John Neumann Church, 560 Walton Ave., Mount Laurel. Friends may call Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m. and Wednesday from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. at the Costantino Funeral Home, 231 W. White Horse Pike, Berlin.

Burial will be in New St. Mary's Cemetery, Bellmawr.

Staff writer Clint Riley contributed to this report.


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