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Crash kills Spg. Gdns. Olympian

Gill, 35, was riding with his friend Warren Davies's in his friend's new2008 BMW traveling westbound on Avenue D shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday morning when Davies lost control and crashed into a box truck parked between Rockaway Parkway and Rockaway Avenue, according to police.Davies was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS while Gill was rushed to Brookdale University Hospital where he was pronounced dead later that morning."We knew something was wrong because he never stays out that late without calling his wife," said his older sister Tessa. "When we got the call from the police, we were shocked." Police said there was no criminality involved in the accident, but high speed was the factor in the crash.Gill, who lived in Springfield Gardens and worked as a human resource director for a Long Island business, ran the 4-by-400 meter relay for the Guyanese national team in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, according to his younger brother, Ryan Gill. He also ran for Stony Brook University's track and field team and coached kids in the sport on weekends."He loved to run. His friend told me that it was something that was just a talent," Ryan Gill said.Gill's family, which includes his parents, brother and five sisters, emigrated from Guyana in 1983 and settled in Elmhurst, according to Ryan Gill. They then moved to Springfield Gardens two years later and have lived there ever since.Gill attended Thomas Edison High School in Jamaica, where he caught the track bug, thanks to a fortunate accident."The story he always told me was he was outside school and running away from something that was chasing him, a dog or something. He bolted and the coach saw him and asked him to join the team," Ryan Gill said.Gill led the track and field team during his junior and senior years, breaking numerous records and winning dozens of awards. Although many top sports colleges offered him full scholarships, Gill decided to take an offer from Stony Brook University to stay near his family, according to his brother."He was recruited with full scholarships to UCLA and Georgia Tech, but wanted to remain close to home," he said.He continued to excel on the track field, winning more awards, including being named the university's first freshman All-American track runner. He also excelled in his studies, earning a bachelor's degree in business.Despite the accolades, Gill's family said he remained humble."He never once came in and said, 'Look what I did,' " Ryan Gill said.In 1995, Gill set his sights on achieving his dream of running in the Olympics when he made the Guyanese team. His brother said he did have a chance to be on the U.S. team, but he stayed true to his native nation."He didn't care that the chances to get on the team were less, he wanted to make a name for the country," Ryan Gill said.Following the games, Gill finally settled down and married his college girlfriend Annette Hicks, who works as an attorney. The two have four daughters, whose ages range from 9 to 18 months, and Annette Gill is currently expecting twins, according to Ryan Gill.Although he said the family was holding up after the accident, they were still devastated over the sudden loss."She's holding up but it's been tough. It's hard to engage now," Ryan Gill said of his sister-in-law.Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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