Thousands of members of New England law enforcement agencies are grieving the loss of a Maine State trooper who was laid to rest Tuesday.
The mourners made up most of the attendees for funeral ceremonies for Det. Ben Campbell, held at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.
Campbell was killed on-duty last week in what’s been described by Maine State Police as “a freak accident.”
The detective was helping a motorist who spun out in snowy weather in Hampden, just outside Bangor when two wheels flew off a passing tractor trailer passing the accident scene.
Campbell was struck and fatally injured by one of the wheels.
A day after what would have been Campbell’s 32nd birthday on April 8, the detective’s remains held in an American-flag-draped casket, sat below a stage where his co-workers and family paid final respects to him.
“Ben has the heart of a guardian,” began Maine State Police Col. John Cote who described Campbell as having all the “ingredients” for the “recipe” of a great state trooper.
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Cote was one of four state troopers who, through shaky moments and difficult pauses gave remarks during the services, which lasted a total of four hours.
Other speakers included two chaplains from Maine law enforcement agencies and, though not listed on the funeral program, Campbell’s wife, Hilary.
Hilary Campbell took a moment to address the stranded motorist saying through tears, “I pray his smile will be engrained in your mind and heart.”
Condolences for Hilary Campbell and her and the detective’s six-month-old son, Everett, were woven throughout the speakers’ words as were messages to troopers still coming to terms with Campbell’s loss.
Maine State Police Supervisor, Terry James, called on his colleagues to express their profound grief and not be ashamed of it.
“Let it out, let it hurt ..it’s supposed to.. this is awful,” said James.
After indoor ceremonies, Campbell’s casket was brought outside the Cross Insurance Arena to a waiting hearse as New England law enforcement stood outside.
The hearse was then brought away from the venue in a procession which included a Maine State Police motorcycle escort.
Work on the investigation into what caused the fatal tire break is ongoing.
The driver of the truck, Scott Willet of Patten, Maine, has not been charged with a crime though a state police investigation of his truck has been completed. Results of that have not yet been released.