BRISTOL - Clutching candles and bowing their heads, more than 100 community members turned out Tuesday evening to remember a toddler who was killed just days ago during an accident in the family’s driveway.
“We’ve got a lot of love,” said the boy’s father, who did not wish to be identified. “We’re going to get through this.”
The vigil was held at the Sycamore Street home where a 21-month-old child was accidentally run over by his father late Sunday morning.
Police have released little about the incident, and have not identified the family. They are still investigating but have said the situation does not appear to be anything more than an unfortunate accident.
Following the tragedy, neighbors organized the remembrance for the child and have asked the community for its support. Donations were collected at the vigil to help cover the funeral expenses. Additionally, a GoFundMe page has been started and can be visited at gofundme.com/sweet-baby-allen.
As of Tuesday evening, the page had generated $1,640 of its $10,000 goal.
Family members said the boy’s funeral will be held in Meriden, but they are not going to publish anything about the services.
“I’d like to thank you all for coming,” the child’s father said Tuesday evening. “Thank you from my wife, myself.”
The father added that it helps to know so many in the community are behind the family.
Outside the family home, neighbors created a memorial for the toddler consisting of toys, stuffed animals and candles.
They have also created a calendar in the neighborhood so they can take turns making dinner for the family.
Robin Reid, who organized the vigil, asked that anyone wishing to help the family contact her at 860-944-5033.
“Hopefully we can just stick together as a community,” Reid said. “There’s been so much tragedy to this family and they’re such a great family.”
“We all don’t know what’s like to lose a child,” Reid continued.
Reid, who lives across the street from the family home, said she saw the horrific accident as it happened on Sunday. She said the father was only trying to cordon off the driveway so his 21-month-old and 8-year-old could play outside without having to worry about the cars that sometimes speed by. Tragically, the toddler’s brother saw everything happen, she continued.
Ginny Owens, who lives one street over and attended the vigil, said she always saw the two children outside playing as she would drive down the street.
“The parents were always right there,” Owens said.
Owens also expressed frustration with those on social media who have condemned the father.
“Have you ever made a mistake?” she asked. “Have you ever turned away for one second? Because that’s all it takes.”
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.