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Vehicles Set in Motion

Ian Campbell

June 2002 - April 14, 2004

State Rep. W. Packey Campbell, right, and his wife, Brenda, hold a picture of their 22-month-old son, Ian Joseph, on Thursday afternoon at their home in Farmington where a tragic accident took the young boy’s life Wednesday evening. Steve Drozell/Staff photographer

Parents recall boy killed in tragic Farmington accident

By JASON HOWE Democrat Staff Writer Friday, April 16, 2004

FARMINGTON — Packey Campbell has served and supported his community as a state representative.

State Rep. W. Packey Campbell, right, and his wife, Brenda, hold a picture of their 22-month-old son, Ian Joseph, on Thursday afternoon at their home in Farmington where a tragic accident took the young boy’s life Wednesday evening. Steve Drozell/Staff photographer

Now, the community of friends, family, and other state representatives are supporting him, following the tragic death of his 22-month-old son.

Ian Joseph Campbell died Wednesday evening after being run over by a truck in the Campbell’s driveway.

Ian was pronounced dead Wednesday evening at Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester, according to police.

Campbell and his wife, Brenda J. Campbell, spent much of Thursday looking back on both the good and the bad — the fond memories of an energetic and “”fearless”” son and the heartache of recounting the untimely death of the family’s youngest.

In the face of such overwhelming tragedy, the Campbells’ priority was clear — looking to their family and three children.

“”This is what we have left; this is our family now and we’re not going to give up,”” Campbell said during an interview Thursday afternoon at his Leary Lane home.

He and his wife had expected to be the ones supporting the children during the time of loss.

Instead, Ryan, 6, Sara, 5, and Adam, 4, reminded their parents of the hope instilled by a lifetime of family and church support, and a strong faith in God.

“”Ian’s with God now,”” Sara said, running to curl up on her mother’s lap with a bag of jelly beans, before saying how much she liked dressing her baby brother up in girl’s clothing.

“”It’s our family, friends, and community at church that has helped us through this — it’s the only way the kids know Ian is OK and that things are going to be all right. They’ve (the kids) been our support. They’re all we have now,”” Campbell said.

Campbell and his wife were quick to recount the exuberance with which the children all played together, but were clearly upset as they recounted how that exuberance led to Wednesday’s tragedy.

“”He (Ian) was always so quick, so fast. He’d just go, and go, and go around what we called the loop,”” Campbell said, explaining how Ian would run circles around the house on the wrap-around, covered porch.

“”He used to love to travel too and was always so excited to get into the car with his brothers. ‘Ca’ he would say, ‘ca,’ and jump in beside Ryan and Adam. But that’s where they were when this happened,”” Campbell said, trailing off as he picked up the picture of Ian from the coffee table in front of him.

No one actually saw what happened during the accident. The two brothers had run outside to get into the car just ahead of Campbell, who was getting off the phone at the time, he said. It’s not exactly clear, but appears the two boys might have been inside the truck just prior to the accident, according to the police.

The next moment, Campbell said, will stay with him forever.

“”The two of them came running into the room and at first I thought Ian had fallen down, but then … then I saw the car had moved and that he’d been run over. He didn’t speak, he just bit down on my finger and gave a shudder and he was gone,”” Campbell said, between sobs.

The injuries that caused Ian’s death are not known at this time. An autopsy was scheduled to be performed today.
Ironically, the Campbell family had enjoyed what they called the “”perfect night,”” until the tragedy.
Wednesday was Adam’s fourth birthday.

“”I was home early, we had dinner and cake, and Ian kept pulling out the candle and eating the frosting off of it — he kept eating the cake with the candle. He was just so excited for his brother’s birthday,”” Brenda Campbell said.
Birthdays, family, church, friends, and play were all Ian knew, the couple said.

“”This house was his world. It was all he knew and you’d see him bouncing around it all the time. He would do the cutest little dance, and just dance, and dance, and dance to whatever was on,”” Brenda recounted.
Grandmother MaryAnn Campbell explained how Ian’s “”fearlessness”” and energy translated into a love of soccer and large bouncing balls.

“”I remember when he was only 8½ months old and holding his little fingers while he kicked a soccer ball. He was always going, always wanted to play. You couldn’t get him away from the large green ball or his soccer ball. He was our darling,”” MaryAnn said.

Brenda recounted the hundreds of times she had saved Ian from atop the 4-foot diameter ergonomic-balance ball, which Ian would periodically climb when no one was looking.

“”You couldn’t get him off of that ball. He just loved to bounce and bounce on it — he would ask any adult that came by to play on it,”” Brenda said.

Even the dog was not free from inclusion in Ian’s whirlwind of energy.

“”We’ve had Max (the dog) since before any of the kids. They’ve grown up with him. Ian loved Max. They were like buddies,”” Campbell said.

Max lay in the corner as Campbell and Brenda paused to watch their three other children chase each other across the porch before expressing their gratitude for all the emergency personnel who responded to the Campbell’s frantic E-911 call Wednesday.

“”Everyone that responded to the call was amazing, but the one guy (Fire Chief Ed Robinson) really had things under control. He was just there and making sure that everything ran. You just can’t describe the value of someone like that to a community,”” Campbell said.

Robinson and Assistant Chief Rich Fowler were the first emergency medical personnel on scene, according to Campbell.

He also recounted caring responses by Victims Inc., a Frisbie Memorial Hospital counseling service for area families dealing with personal tragedy, their priest, Father John of Holy Rosary Church, and Sister Shela, an old family friend from the Chapel of the Nativity in Barrington.

Campbell’s colleagues at the New Hampshire Statehouse were also expressing sorrow Thursday when they learned about the family’s loss. House Chaplain Rev. Hays M. Jenkin offered a prayer when the House reconvened Thursday. “”I ask your prayers this afternoon for Ian Joseph Campbell — our hearts are heavy, our breath is still, words fail us,”” said Jenkin.

House Speaker Gene Chandler, R-Bartlett, said of Campbell, “”All that can be said is that our prayers and thoughts are with him and his family.””

The outpouring of support was gratifying to Brenda. “”We’re just so fortunate to have this type of support and community around us. Our faith is in our God and our church, because that’s what is getting us through this time — we were just so lucky to have the two years with Ian,”” she said.

It was with the Farmington emergency personnel and church community in mind that the Campbells have asked people send monetary donations to two charities in lieu of flowers.

Memorial donations may be made in Ian’s memory to Farmington Fire and Rescue, South Main St., Farmington, N.H. 03835 or to New Hampshire Catholic Charities, P.O. Box 686, Manchester, N.H. 03105.

Calling hours are today from 6 to 8 p.m. at Peaslee Funeral Home, 24 Central Street in Farmington. A Mass of the Angels will be celebrated on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church, 189 North Main St., Rochester with Fr. Paul Montminy, pastor, as celebrant. Interment will follow at Pine Grove Cemetery in Farmington.

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