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Benjamin Donnell

1999 - July 8, 2004

On July 8, 2004 our only son Benjamin J.F. Donnell was killed in a back over tragedy in my father’s driveway in Farmington, Maine. Farmington is a nice town to grow up in and an even nicer place to call home when you have children of your own and you get to visit the grandparents. My father lives in one of those nice neighborhoods. Everyone there saw my children grow. They fit there better than anywhere else. The yard in back of my Dad’s house is large, approximately 1 acre and at least another acre for the house and front yard with lots of places to run around and play, which is much better than our apartment complex.

On this particular Thursday we had bank errands to do and I had to check on Dad’s house while he was away at work. The kids had just had their treat of Spiderman Burger King meals and were playing on the swing on my dad’s back porch. I had pulled up onto the edge of the driveway because the kids wanted to draw with chalk a message on the driveway to Grandpa for when he got home. When it came time to go home the children, Benny (5 yrs 5mos) and Caroline (7) were ready and tired.

Caroline went into her car seat in our 1985 Grand Jeep Wagoneer and Benny refused to go without me first picking him up over my head off of the porch and “”airplane riding “” him into his car seat in the Jeep.

I was tired, I will admit. I said “no.” I will regret that till I die. Benny died less than 3 minutes later holding my hand.

I had made an agreement with Benny that if he stayed where he was ON the porch I would back up the Jeep off of the grass into the drive. Then I would go through the family room onto the back porch and pick him up and we would get his favorite juice cup for the drive home. He said yes.

Now, I want everyone to know that when Ben was told to stay somewhere he REALLY did stay put. He had a hearing difficulty in both ears but, that was never a problem. I got into the Jeep and backed up the Jeep and Caroline screamed “”MOM! BEN!””

There wasn’t a “”CRASH!”” There was not a “”BUMP.”” There was nothing to make me realize I had hit my little boy with the Jeep. I stopped the SUV and shut it off at the same time, and then time stood still. I seemed to run in slow motion and at the same time too fast to see what had happened.

C.B. (Caroline) got the phone I called 911. She ran to find the nearest neighbor who happened to be across the street, a woman named Laurie. (Laurie had also suffered tragedy in her own life losing her young husband in an auto accident.)

I could only get my finger tips to reach Benny lying on my stomach. He was also on his stomach in a sort of “”pointer position.” The right front tire had his upper torso pinched. His last words were “”MOMMA?”” His eyes rolled close and he turned purple.

The paramedics and firemen were there 5 minutes from the time I called. I couldn’t move the vehicle by myself and didn’t know if I would do further damage to my son. According to reenactments by the police they surmise that Ben came around the corner of the attached garage and tripped, fell and rolled down the driveway where he was pinned under the right front tire.

He was 4 ft 8″” tall and weighed only 48 lbs. He was airlifted by the Life flight of Maine to Central Maine Hospital in Lewiston, Maine and was pronounced dead on arrival.

I had those extra side mirrors you attach to the regular mirrors so you can see what comes up next to you in blind zones. But what good do those do when the object is below mirror height?

I hope this story helps to prevent more tragedies like what happened to our family.

Benny always smiled at ANY lady he happened to see. Then when they said “”HELLO”” or smiled back he would stage whisper “”MOMMA? DO THEY KNOW ME?”” Well, Guy, now they know you. Now everyone will know you.

Lovingly submitted by his mother, Lisabeth F.Donnell on April 7, 2006. {Grandpas birthday}”

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