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Whiteface Mountain skier died from crash into tree

April 6, 2018
By GLYNIS HART and GRIFFIN?KELLY - Staff Writers ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - A 22-year-old St. Lawrence University student died after crashing into a tree at the Whiteface Mountain Ski Center in Wilmington Saturday, March 31, according to state police.

Essex County Coroner Francis Whitelaw said that at approximately 11 a.m., Lukas Harvey of Castleton, Vermont, and a group of his friends were skiing down Lower Northway, an intermediate-difficulty trail, when Harvey's left ski detached. Though apparently not traveling very fast, he fell and slid back-first into a tree, fracturing his spine and rupturing his aorta. Whitelaw said members of Whiteface's ski patrol witnessed the crash.

Life-saving measures were attempted at the scene to no avail, according to state police.

Whitelaw arrived on the scene and brought Harvey's body to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake. After an autopsy Tuesday, April 3, Whitelaw concluded that the cause of death was blunt force trauma, and the manner of death was accidental.

"This was a very, very sad accident, and our prayers go out to his family," said Jon Lundin, spokesman for the state Olympic Regional Development Authority that runs Whiteface.

University mourns

Harvey would have graduated this spring from St. Lawrence University. Fellow students and academics described him as caring and likable, a dean's list student and someone who "helped restore the reputation of our Alpha Tau Omega chapter," according to Gary Reilly of that fraternity.

Harvey received the 2017 Austin Sartin Best Poster Award by the Sigma Gamma Epsilon National Honor Society. His poster, which accompanied his study titled "Facies, depositional environments and sea-level trends within the Upper Ordovician Stony Mountain Formation, Western North Dakota," was submitted by the Geological Society of America.

Harvey was working on a major in geology and a minor in government.

Over the weekend, St. Lawrence University created a "Memories of Lukas Harvey" page for friends and acquaintances to share their thoughts of the young man.

"Upon his graduation, I anticipated Luke joining our firm as an Environmental Geologist to conduct investigations and remediation of contaminated sites in Alaska," Nicholas Henegan wrote on the memories page. "Of course, a young man of his caliber was also considering other opportunities to include graduate school. Luke's keen interest in the environmental field, professional dreams and aspirations, as well as spirit of adventure greatly impressed me. I am deeply saddened that he has been denied his next phase of life for which he had so diligently prepared himself."

Harvey assisted in reading program in 2016 at St. Mary's Catholic School in Canton, mentoring local elementary school children every Tuesday along with helping them read various books and other homework assignments.

"Luke was one of my volunteers when I coordinated the Reading Buddies program at St. Mary's in Canton," wrote Molly Hyde, a 2017 SLU graduate. "I was always happy to have him with us, as he was great at balancing hard work and goofy game time with his buddies. He was wonderful with the kids, and they all loved him - especially the boys, who really looked up to him and saw him as a role model. They asked for him constantly if he had to be away. The impact he had on them was clear, and they are fortunate, as we all are, to have been touched by his light."



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