COHASSET — No matter what 9-year-old Dylan Gold was up to in his verdant neighborhood, his upbeat curiosity made him stand out in a tight-knit community bustling with children.
Neighbors and friends shared memories of Gold Tuesday as his death in a car accident in Maine on Sunday shocked the South Shore community.
Gold’s family was on vacation when a motorist lost control of her car on a busy wharf in Port Clyde, Maine, striking four people, including Gold’s mother, Allison, and his 6-year-old brother, Wyatt, police said.
“He was a great kid. We’ve all been hit really hard by it,” said neighbor Frank Wixted, whose daughter Elaine played with Gold on Pond Street. “We are still trying to make sense of the randomness of it. We all have kids of the same age.”
Police said the driver of the car was Cheryl Torgerson, 61, of New York City. Her vehicle first hit another car, then rammed a local man against the wall of a craft shop, police said. Torgerson’s car kept accelerating down the wharf and slammed into six parked cars before striking members of the Gold family, said Knox County Sheriff Donna Dennison.
Howard Gold, 51, the children’s father, was inside the family’s van as they waited to board a ferry to Monhegan Island, and saw the car strike his family outside, she said.
Dylan Gold died on his way to the hospital, Dennison said. Wyatt Gold was released Tuesday from Maine Medical Center in Portland while Allison Gold, 50, was in critical condition.
There was no indication that Torgerson was under the influence of intoxicants, but she was taken to Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport and underwent a routine blood test, Dennison said. Torgerson, who was also on vacation, has since been released, she said.
Torgerson told police her accelerator was stuck, Dennison said, and investigators are examining her car to determine whether a malfunction caused the crash.
Jonathan Coggeshall, 68, of Port Clyde, who also was hit by the car, is in fair condition at Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport with a hip injury, Dennison said.
Ken Cook, the Golds’ 83-year-old neighbor, sat in his living room on Pond Street in Cohasset Tuesday and remembered Dylan, possessed of boundless energy, playing in his yard with other children.
“Among the children his own age, he was the leader,” Cook said. “They would finish one thing, a game or something and he would say, ‘Come on, lets go do this.’”
It’s typical to find children coming to each other’s homes, said Wixted, 50, who moved to the neighborhood two years ago with his wife and daughter.
Dylan “came over to play on our trampoline,” he said from his front porch Tuesday.
His daughter, Elaine, 9, chimed in. “He was, like, kind of crazy — in a fun way,” she said. “He was silly.”
Cook said whenever the Gold family came over for dinner, Dylan would be full of questions.
One afternoon Cook was gardening when Dylan, then 6, approached him with a question about geology.
Cook said he asked about a large rock of many colors and textures that juts from the yard behind their neighboring houses. Dylan wanted to know what pieces made up the rock and why they are different.
Cook explained how glaciers used to move across the local landscape, picking up material as they moved along.
“Dylan was interested in the sorts of things a lot of kids aren’t,” Cook said. “He was a joy to be with.”
It was a trait Dylan and Wyatt Gold shared. Cook attributed it to their parents. Howard Gold is a doctor and Allison Gold is a nurse at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Cook said.
“They have a serious side. Some kids don’t. They want to have fun all the time,” he said. “Not those two. They’d want to learn something.”Javier Panzar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jpanzar.