Teen athlete killed in crash

Wednesday, June 18
PITTSFIELD — A 19-year-old Pittsfield man, whom friends and family described as a talented high school athlete who had just completed his freshman year in college, was killed in a one-car accident on Merrill Road early yesterday morning.

According to Pittsfield Police, Benjamin Joslyn of Northumberland Road was traveling near the vicinity of 235 Merrill Road when his 2001 Nissan Pathfinder crashed. The 2007 graduate of St. Joseph's High School was pronounced dead at the scene.

Although excessive speed appears to have been a factor in the crash, the accident still is under investigation, Officer Marc Maddalena said late yesterday afternoon. Police said Joslyn was driving alone at the time of the incident, which was reported by a passer-by at 1:19 a.m.

Yesterday, mourners placed flowers around an orange traffic cone marking the scene near Pittsfield Generating Co.

According to Joslyn's father, Charles Joslyn — still shaken from an accident involving his youngest son in August — the 19-year-old was westbound on Merrill Road when he skidded and lost control, crashing first into the left-hand curb, then the right, before flipping several times, hitting a double lamppost and coming to rest.

Benjamin Joslyn was a three-sport athlete at St. Joseph's, capturing honors in football, lacrosse and basketball. He also excelled in youth baseball. In the 2001 Massachusetts State Little League Tournament, he notched a tie-breaking single to secure the title for his Pittsfield South team.

"What I remember most about him is he was so filled with life and energy," said Charles Joslyn in a phone interview yesterday. "In sports, he was always alert and ready, concentrating. He was cheerful and upbeat."

"He was just so loyal to his friends and family," said his mother, Audrey Ringer Eldred.

At the scene of the accident, a memorial grew in size throughout the day yesterday.

"Family, one love," a mourner penned on the white strips of one of two miniature footballs nestled between flowers, shattered glass and remnants of the car. The memorial rests on top of the base of the lamppost, which was toppled in the accident.

Lindsey Reilly, 19, and Marissa Bogins,19, both former classmates of Joslyn, spent the afternoon cleaning up debris around the area. The pair added a yellow posterboard and wooden crosses to the cone, complete with a blue marker for writing messages.

"God must have needed another angel, and you were it — always be remembered," Reilly wrote on the poster emblazoned with the letters B-E-N.

"At St. Joe's, we were like a family," said Reilly, who heard from Joslyn via a text message she received at 1:06 a.m. Sunday. The message said only: "Hey."

"And when a family member passes away, it hurts more," she said. "It's just scary, because it could have been one of us. It just doesn't seem real."

St. Joseph held the final day of classes for the year yesterday, and Joslyn was memorialized during the Catholic school's regularly scheduled Mass.

"We had our closing Mass (yesterday), and the theme was peace and justice," said Principal Donna Quallen. "And I told the kids, sometimes things aren't fair or just. But we mourn together, we laugh together, and we do all we can for each other."

Gary Bianchi, head football coach at St. Joseph's, worked with Joslyn as a linebacker and fullback for four years. Bianchi said the young man will be missed for his spirit both on and off the field.

"Ben was a very good athlete — a strong athlete," Bianchi said, on his way to the memorial on Merrill Road. "He played every game to the best of his ability, and he played hard. He was a great teammate. He would always make sure he protected his teammates. And he was always there if we needed him, even after graduation."

According to Joslyn's parents, the young man was on summer vacation after completing his freshman year at Berkshire Community College. He was preparing to pursue a career as an electrician at Baran Institute of Technology in October.

In August, Benjamin Joslyn's brother, Daniel Joslyn, was a passenger in a car accident in Dalton. The young man, now entering his senior year at St. Joseph's, suffered multiple injuries and was unable to participate in high school baseball, basketball or football games this year.

The boys' mother said the family has been through a great deal in the past several months.

"Oh, dear God," she said. "We have just had enough. Dan was hurt very badly, and now this. But what I learned from Dan's accident is, when people say, 'What can I do for you?' say you need help. It's OK to admit that you need some help."

Friends of Benjamin Joslyn— still in shock from the passing of a close friend — said he would want to be remembered as a good man and a good friend.

"Ben wouldn't want us to mourn over him for a long time," said Marissa Bogins. "He'd want us to be upset. But he'd want us to celebrate his life."

Plans for memorial services have not yet been solidified. Charles Joslyn said the family would like to hold a service later this week.

Individuals with any information regarding the accident are asked to contact Pittsfield Police Officers James McIntyre or Marc Maddalena at (413) 448-9701 or 448-9700.

To reach Amy Carr: acarr@berkshireeagle.com, (413) 496-6233.


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