The 16-year-old student who was struck by a car and killed as he stepped from the curb in front of Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville on Tuesday evening was wearing headphones to listen to music, officials said yesterday.

Montgomery County police spokesman Joyce Barrow said that the music blaring from the headphones could have distracted the student, identified as Howard Van Horn, 16, of the 13800 block of Turkey Foot Road in Darnestown.

Van Horn, a sophomore and member of the junior varsity football team, was struck by a 1998 Chrysler Concord at 6:44 p.m., as he was leaving afternoon practice at the school, in the 2100 block of Wootton Parkway.

The driver of the car was identified by police as David M. Goldberg, 58, of the 9100 block of Copenhaver Drive in Potomac. Ann Evans, a police spokeswoman, said that no charges have been filed in connection with Tuesday's collision and that investigators have not determined whether excessive speed might have contributed to the accident. Evans said no skid marks were found on the road. The investigation is continuing.

Yesterday morning, the first day of classes in Montgomery County, Wootton Principal Rebecca Newman informed the school's 1,900 students of Van Horn's death via closed-circuit television, according to a spokesman for Montgomery County schools. A small white cross was placed near the curb of the intersection where Van Horn was killed.

It is the second year in a row that the current sophomore class has been confronted with the death of one of their classmates at the opening of school.

Kevin Mackey, 14, of North Potomac and then a Wootton freshman, was struck by a hit-and-run driver as he was riding his bicycle along Dufief Mill Road on Sept. 5 and died three days later.

On Tuesday, a North Potomac woman, Kap Joo Kim, 45, was found guilty by Montgomery County District Judge Eric Johnson of four traffic charges stemming from the accident. She will be sentenced later.

Police said several students witnessed Tuesday's accident and ran to aid the teenager. Coaches, meanwhile, attempted to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation but were unsuccessful.

Van Horn was pronounced dead at Suburban Hospital at 8:45 p.m.