Gurney's Inn
June 06, 2007

In Montauk: Local Teen Perishes In Accident

"He loved skateboarding, he loved dirt bikes, he loved surfing. He loved Montauk from the bottom of his heart and even though we moved to Springs, he was here every moment he could be," his mother, Victoria Simenson, said Monday. Lars Simenson also loved anything mechanical – he was a Lego man – and last Friday he died pursuing his career passion. He was 18.

Police were called to the marina at the Crabby Café on East Lake Drive in Montauk just before nine Friday morning, alerted to an industrial accident. Lars and his father Gary Simenson were removing a crane used for dredging when the crane's boom collapsed on him. He was extricated from beneath the boom and, according to published reports, died in his father's arms.

A teacher's aid in Montauk School, Victoria Simenson was on a class field trip aboard a bus en route to Atlantis Marine World when the school got the call, principal Jack Perna related. A school staff member met the bus in Water Mill to take her to Stony Brook Hospital, where the boy was slated to be airlifted. But, his condition was so severe, East Hampton Town Police Chief Todd Sarris said, the medevac chopper was diverted to Eastern Long Hospital in Greenport.

So were Lars's parents, each in separate cars bound for Stony Brook. When Perna heard Lars was critically injured he, too, turned back from his journey to Rockville Centre to see Father Pete Libasi's ordination, and headed to Greenport. Ms. Simenson has worked in Montauk School full time for about 14 years.

Perna remembered Lars as "a great boy." As The Independent went to press, Perna was in the process of closing school so staff and friends could attend the funeral this morning.

And there were many friends. "Lars was one of the kindest, most compassionate, gentle people. He had friends from every walk of life, every group of kids," Ms. Simenson said Monday, proud to note he was also an organ and tissue donor.

Born on August 23, 1988, Lars grew up in Montauk, attending elementary school there. He was the only son of Gary and Victoria Simenson. When the couple separated in 1995, Lars moved with his mother to Springs, spending weekends in Montauk with his dad.

After receiving his GED, Lars enrolled in the New England Institute of Technology in Rhode Island to study maritime technology. "He didn't have class on Fridays, so he came down Thursday to work with his dad," Ms. Simenson explained. Lars was close to his father as well as to Ms. Simenson's partner Peter DeGennaro who helped raise him. His stepmother, Wendy Simenson, also survives. Ms. Simenson reported Lars's father hadn't slept since the tragic accident. "He's not in good shape," she said.

"My heart is broken," Ms. Simenson said Monday, her voice occasionally broken by tears. But, the community's response has been "absolutely, positively incredible. The love and support have been just incredible."

Friends set up a memorial fund through the Bridgehampton National Bank to offset the family's expenses. Donors can make checks out to EECF Lars Simenson Memorial Fund, BNB, PO Box 2177, Montauk, NY 11954. Contributions can also be left at any of BNB's branches. In lieu of flowers, friends may also remember Lars through contributions to the Montauk Ambulance or Fire Department.

Funeral services were under the supervision of Yardley & Pino Funeral Home. A wake was held last night and on Monday at Yardley's East Hampton site. This morning at 10 a.m. a funeral mass will be held at St. Therese in Montauk. Burial follows at Fort Hill Cemetery.

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