Reese Maddocks was standing just outside of arm's reach when his best friend was run over and crushed by a front-end loader allegedly stolen by several teenagers on a suburban joyride early Sunday morning.
While at a friend's home in Dorchester, a small neighbourhood about 20 minutes east of London, three teenagers took the small tractor and were driving down an alley.
That's when Riley Shannon, 21, rounded up Maddocks. The two of them went out to tell the teenagers to return the vehicle. Minutes later, Maddocks could only watch in complete shock as his friend was accidentally pulled under the loader and crushed.
"After the 911 call was made, he was no longer conscious, but he was still with us," Maddocks said. "It wasn't until paramedics got there and he was about to go into the ambulance before he showed any signs of anything being really, really wrong."
News of what Maddocks describes as a "complete, freak" accident spread quickly in the small community of Ingersoll, where he and Shannon lived. Friends and family mourned, while many others waited for details about the shocking death.
"It's absolutely horrible," said Kimberly Medica, whose son played hockey with Shannon for years. "He was an amazing young man, always happy."
Medica regularly saw Shannon at the hockey rink, playing hockey alongside her son. Watching him grow up, she describes him as having a "contagious smile."
"He always knew how to make people happy," she said. "I can't imagine what his friends are going through — his parents."
Small town rocked by tragedy
Maddocks hasn't been able to go anywhere without someone talking about the tragedy.
"Anywhere you go, it seems like someone's either talking about it, or someone's coming up and giving you their apologies," he said. "It tells me that he touched so many people's lives."
Further proof of Shannon's outgoing personality was expressed by people who turned to social media to share their stories.
Shannon's death was felt throughout the community. People who never met the young man had heard plenty about him.
Three teenagers have been charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death in what police describe as an accident. They are also charged with theft over $5,000, criminal negligence causing death and failing to stop at scene of an accident involving bodily harm or death.
Maddocks said the teenagers ran away as soon as Shannon was injured, a response that has only frustrated the young man dealing with one of the most devastating losses of his life.
"Accident or intentional, I would not have run," he said. "This situation is a terrible time and that certainly didn't make things better."