By Jack Chavez, Staff Writer
(July 21, 2022) Key details are emerging regarding the hit-and-run accident that occurred on the night of July 11 that claimed the life of 14-year-old Gavin Knupp of Ocean Pines.
The Maryland State Police announced on Monday that they had located and seized a black Mercedes they suspect was involved in the case. According to a press release, damage on the vehicle matched evidence left at the scene of the accident that occurred on Grays Corner Road, not far from Crabs-To-Go Seafood Market.
The Mercedes was found in Worcester County.
Details regarding what led police to the vehicle, where exactly in the county it was found, who it belongs to and where the search for a suspect goes from here were not immediately available.
In the meantime, the communities that Gavin touched are left to pick up the pieces after his sudden passing.
“Gavin was an outdoor enthusiast. He loved hunting, fishing, surfing and skateboarding,” read an obituary for him. “Above everything else, he loved his sister, Summer. They were two peas in a pod, always inseparable and he looked at her as his hero.”
“He will be remembered for his great sense of humor, his ability to light up a room and his exceptional character. He made friends everywhere he went and will be missed by everyone who knew him. Everyone who had the honor of knowing Gavin is better for doing so.”
On Saturday at 5 p.m., the Ocean City Surf Club will hold a paddle-out for Gavin on the beach at 36th Street, club President Tommy Vach said.
“Several of our students called me and asked if they could do a surfer’s memorial paddle out (for Gavin, who was not a club member),” Vach said. “They called the day after he passed away. Since then we have been organizing a traditional surfers paddle out which I will orchestrate at the celebration of life.”
Vach said that some of the students in their summer camp who knew Gavin were so affected that they had to take time away from the program to collect themselves.
“All of a sudden, they’ve lost a close friend,” Vach said. “It impacted the Surf Club a lot.”
A paddle-out is a traditional tribute to a fallen surfer, he said. People will gather on the beach and say a few words before the surfers paddle out past the breakers, into the open ocean, and father around a wreath made in Gavin’s honor. More words will be shared before the “splash of life” where surfers splash water up to the sky to “let Gavin know we’re down here thinking of him and honoring him.”
Everyone then separates and creates a big circle with some close friends in the middle — the circle of life, Vach said. They hold hands and wave palm fronds in the air that they’ll have carried out with them, before paddling out the wreath to sea.
“It’s a very emotional and moving way to send a surfer off to sea,” Vach said.
A GoFundMe for the family, which has raised nearly $40,000 as of Tuesday afternoon, can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/f/gavin-knupp.