Town mourns as man who ‘put a smile on everyone’s face’ dies in fatal joyride with front-end loader
LONDON — A young man who “put a smile on everyone’s face” is dead, and three London-area teenagers are charged with criminal negligence causing death after an apparent joyride on a front-end loader during a house party.
Ambulance crews and police were called to a residence in the town of Dorchester, 18 kilometres east of London, a few minutes after midnight Saturday, OPP said.
Police weren’t releasing the address, but confirmed there was a gathering of people there.
They discovered that Riley Shannon, 21, of nearby Ingersoll, Ont., had been run over by a John Deere 333E model skid steer, a 5,357-kilogram construction loader with tracked wheels.
Shannon was rushed in critical condition to hospital, where he died.
A friend of Shannon’s said on Facebook that the man had been trying to stop three others from taking the machine when he was struck and killed.
Police wouldn’t confirm those details, but indicated the suspects were joyriding.
“It doesn’t appear that the three involved were trying to ‘steal’ the skid steer,” Middlesex OPP Const. Adam Crewdson said.
“They did not have permission from the owner, hence the charge of theft.”
Shannon has been described as a fun-loving and generous young man who wanted to be a paramedic.
He attended Ingersoll District Collegiate Institute and for a time worked at the Ingersoll Home Hardware, according to his Facebook page.
“He was full of life. He always had a gleam in his eye and a smile on his face,” said store manager Dave Eisen. “It’s a shame.”
Friend Amanda Murray said Shannon was attending Fanshawe College and always dreamed of becoming a paramedic.
“He was like a big brother to me,” Murray said.
“As soon as he would walk into the room, he would put a smile on every individual’s face. He will be missed greatly.”
The engaging young man was a fixture at the family pool last summer with her children, said Elise Clayton. “Sometimes your kids’ friends really make an impact on your life,” she wrote on Facebook. “Riley Shannon, you were one of those kids. I will miss the smile on your face and the sparkle in your eyes.”
“He was just a good kid,” Clayton added over the phone.
“Whenever his friends needed his help, Riley was always there to lend an ear, a shoulder to cry on or to pull a friend out of whatever predicament they happened to be in,” his obituary reads.
The death has Ontario Provincial Police again warning parents and young people about the dangers of parties where immaturity and alcohol can combine into a dangerous mix.
“They are dangerous situations because of the lack of maturity (of party-goers),” said OPP Sgt. Dave Rektor.
“Any time you have young people not supervised, houses can get damaged or people can get hurt or killed.”
When someone gets hurts, or dies, more than one family is devastated, he said.
“It’s sad for everybody. It is tragic all around,” he said. “It’s all preventable.”
Charged with theft valued at more than $5,000, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, failing to stop at an accident involving death or bodily harm, and criminal negligence causing death, are Ryan Esler, 18, Adam Sinden, 18 and Trent Weller, 19, all of Thames Centre, Ont. The three were held for a bail hearing Sunday and released Monday morning.