May 09, 2018WOLFEBORO — A fatal crash on Route 28, just south of the Ossipee/Wolfeboro town line on Wednesday, May 2, sent shock waves through the Wolfeboro community and beyond.
As first reported by the Wolfeboro Police Department, the accident involved a red Mack dump truck, which went into a "non-controllable hard-right turn, later crashing into a large pine tree."
Members of the Wolfeboro, Ossipee, Tuftonboro, and Wakefield Fire Rescue Departments arrived at the crash site to extract the driver, who was treated at the scene by EMS and paramedics from Huggins Hospital and medavacked to Maine Medical. His grandson, later identified as six year old Ben Baldwin, a student at Carpenter Elementary School, was found deceased in the cab of the truck, and appeared to have died on impact, according to a press report from Police Chief Dean Rondeau.
The crash, which occurred at 4:54 p.m., was attributed to a blow out of the right front tire of the rented vehicle, causing the driver to crash into a large pine tree, which in turn fell onto the cab and caused the truck to roll over. Speed was not judged to be a factor. Traffic was closed on Route 28 North for approximately six hours while crews worked at the scene.
As the family reeled from the tragedy, so did the school community. Superintendent Kathy Cuddy-Egbert informed school board members at the May 7 board meeting that counseling was available to students and staff. She spoke in admiration of the sorrowful teachers she witnessed, who pulled themselves together to "be there for the students." It was reportedly a very tough day, not only at Carpenter Elementary School, but also at his older sisters' schools, Crescent Lake Elementary School and Kingswood Regional High School.
Young Ben, an avid hockey player who had just finished his season as a Mite at Back Bay, was described in his obituary as a loving son and brother with a magical smile, always full of energy, who had a knack for lifting the spirits of those around him. The first-grader had a deep fondness for the outdoors. He loved skiing at Abenaki and skating on the lake in the wintertime, spent his summers biking, swimming, boating, and riding his four-wheeler, and was looking forward to playing baseball this summer with the Good Hawks Rookie Team.
He leaves behind his parents, Richard and Katie Baldwin, along with older sisters Jennifer and Alissa.
Memorial services will be held Friday, May 11 at 5:30 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, UCC, South Main Street, Wolfeboro, with Rev. Gina Finocchiaro officiating. Plans are underway for childcare, and teachers are organizing the reception to follow.
A fund has been established in the Baldwin family's name at TD Bank, and contributions can be made at any branch. Donations are also welcome in Ben's memory to the Wentworth Watershed Association, P.O. Box 2235, Wolfeboro, NH 03894.
Ben Baldwin's full obituary can be found on page A8.