ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A 21-year-old men's lacrosse player at Anne Arundel Community College died in a boat crash over the weekend on the West River.
Police said six people were on a 17-foot-long boat Saturday evening, but only five returned.
That’s because 21-year-old Nick Barton, from Crofton, was thrown into the water after the crash near Parish Creek.
Officers said they struck a channel marker and all six on board were ejected.
When help arrived, they found five people in the water. A search began and Barton was found sometime later.
“The operator of the vessel got distracted with conversation and when then the time he saw them heading to the marker, it was too late to avoid it,” said Lauren Moses with the Natural Resources Police Department.
Officers said Barton was not driving the boat and he was not wearing a life jacket.
Barton was a three-year member of the Anne Arundel County men's lacrosse team.
He played in 29 career games with 39 goals and nine assists, scoring a career-high six goals against Jefferson Community College on March 8, 2020. He played in 12 games in 2022, recording a pair of hat tricks on the season.
Barton was also a Dean’s List student and a two-time selection to the AACC Athletic Director’s Honor Roll.
“Nick was a great player, but that’s not what’s important,” said head men’s lacrosse coach Joe Stanilaus. “In the three years that I was blessed to know him, he made huge strides in the classroom. Nick made everyone around him better, myself included. I am so grateful our paths crossed. We will forever miss his presence, but will never forget the leader he was becoming.”
“Our hearts are broken over the passing of Nick Barton,” said AACC athletic director Duane Herr. “Nick was a bright spot within the Riverhawk Athletics community who left a lasting impression on everyone he met. It was a privilege watching him grow and flourish over the last three years. Our sincere condolences go to his family, friends, teammates and coaches.”
Both in-person and remote counseling services are available for AACC students.
To make an appointment, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-777-7111
This is the fourth death on Maryland waters since Memorial Day.
There was a total of six deaths all of last year.
Natural Resources Police say you should have your life vest on when you are in the boat.
“And if the incident happens very quickly, you don't have time to take the life jacket out of the packaging, unzip it or unbuckle it, put it on," Moses said. "When you are in a state of panic, you're not thinking correctly.”
Natural Resources Police said of all six deaths on Maryland waterways last year, none of them were wearing a life jacket.
A GoFundMe has been created and has raised $16,000 as a memorial scholarship.