Long Island teen, a beloved leader among peers, dies in snow tubing accident after striking light pole


A frolic in the snow turned tragic when a Long Island teenager riding an inflatable tube struck a light pole and was killed.

Sean Urda was the first reported death from the winter storm that shut down New York City and much of the Northeast coast on Monday.

And the 17-year-old senior’s death stunned his former classmates at the Elwood-John H. Glenn High School, in Elwood, N.Y.

“Everyone loved him, you never heard anything bad about Sean,” said sophomore Katherine McPherson, 15. “He was always very nice and he was very smart. He played soccer and he was really good at soccer.”

Urda was very active in a peer leadership group called Natural Helpers, she said.

“He was a senior trainer, which means you’ve been elected by your peers to kind of lead the whole thing,” McPherson said. “He was a really good leader, he was really good at teaching and helping others. He really welcomed us all with open arms.”

McPherson said Urda’s death cast a pall on them all.

“It’s a really somber mood, everyone is really upset about it, it’s really shocking, he was such a nice guy,” she said. “I know some of his friends were mourning together, everyone is really upset.”

Her sister, Siobhan, said Urda’s death is “a tragic loss for everyone.”

“It happened so suddenly and it happened so close to home that it’s so shocking,” the 14-year-old freshman said. “I just can’t get over it.”

Urda’s grieving parents were too distraught to speak about their son when a reporter knocked on the door of their East Northport, L.I., home.

Neighbors on the quiet block described the Urda family as close.

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