SCHOHARIE, New York (NEWS CENTER Maine) — A former Hampden Academy student was one of the 20 victims of a deadly limo crash in upstate New York on Saturday afternoon.
Michael Ukaj, a former combat marine, was celebrating his 34th birthday Oct. 6 with friends when the limousine he was riding in lost control and crashed into a parked car.
According to NBC News, Ukaj and 18 of his friends who rented the limousine for a surprise birthday party for their friend Amy Steenburg all died in the crash in Schoharie, a town about 40 miles north of Albany, NY. The driver also hit and killed two pedestrians.
The crash was the deadliest vehicular accident in nearly a decade.
The RSU 22 superintendent confirmed Ukaj graduated from Hampden Academy in 2002.
Ukaj enlisted in the military at 17 and was later deployed to Iraq, before being honorably discharged because of a medical condition, his mother Mary Ashton told Times Union.
For Ashton, who lives in Winterport, Ukaj's military service was a great source of pride.
"We love you and miss you, our dear baby boy!" Ashton wrote on Facebook. "You were such an inspiration when you wanted ot join the Marine Corps! Thank you for your combat service, and for being my son."
R.I.P. Michael C. Ukaj 10/6/1984-10/6/2018 We love you and miss you, our dear baby boy! You...Posted by Mary Ashton on Monday, October 8, 2018
Ujak is survived by his parents, a sister and two brothers.
A fund that was set up to support his family has already raised over $5,000.