Brandon Earl Chaney was a high school sophomore with a mean pitching arm and a passion for hunting and driving all-terrain vehicles.

The Carroll County youth, who turned 16 Sunday, didn''t have a driver''s license or a learner''s permit. But relatives said he apparently sneaked out and took his family''s sport utility vehicle for a drive early Tuesday.

While on a country road, he lost control of the 1996 Ford Explorer, which slid off the road, overturned and struck a tree, police said, killing Chaney.

His mother "was trying to prevent stuff like this from happening by not getting him his driver''s license," said Amanda Remines, the teenager''s aunt, who was at the boys''sTaneytown-area home yesterday with family friends.

"I don''t think she was ready for him to drive yet," Remines said. "She just didn''t want to see him get hurt."

Friends and relatives said the teenager, who attended Francis Scott Key High School, was easy to talk to, enjoyed hunting geese and deer, and had a knack for fixing things.

"He was just smart, and he was funny, and he was easy to talk to about anything," said Meagan Forney, 15, who said she dated Chaney for almost two years.

Forney met Chaney when he began attending her school in seventh grade, and they rode the same bus, she said. His mother told her about the accident, which police said occurred about 4:45 a.m. Tuesday.

A lover of the outdoors, Chaney would set specific times to call Forney so they wouldn''t miss each other, she said.

Even though he was good enough to play for the school baseball team, he didn''t want to, Remines and Forney said, preferring to head home after school and ride his ATV around the property. But he played on a recreational team, they said.

"He enjoyed spending time with his family and doing things with his dad," Remines said.

Chaney also was into fixing things, such as lawn mowers and ATVs, sticking with a project until he had completed the job, Forney said.

"He was a good kid," said Tamara Noaker, Forney''s mother, who, along with her daughter, was at the Chaney house yesterday. She recalled that Chaney didn''t eat the meat from his hunting but tended to give it away.

"We feel for the family. It''s a tragic loss," said Randy Clark, principal of Francis Scott Key High School. "It had such an impact on our building, our school, our students and our staff."

Clark said he plans to invite Chaney''s parents to talk about how they want the school to memorialize their son.

Viewings are scheduled for 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. today at Molesworth-Williams Funeral Home in Damascus.

Funeral services are scheduled for 1 p.m. tomorrow at Marvin Chapel United Methodist Church in Mount Airy, though friends may start visiting at noon, Remines said.

Chaney is survived by his parents, Elaine and Eddie Chaney; and his sister, Alexandra, 13.

Police said yesterday that the accident is under investigation.

About a month ago, two teenagers were killed in a single-car crash in Finksburg.

The 17-year-old driver lost control and crossed the center line, striking a tree head-on.

Police were investigating the possibility that he fell asleep.

There was no indication that drugs or alcohol were involved, police said.