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A Tragic Birthday Trip

This story made me realize I wanted to be a journalist for sure. I figured if I could handle interviewing a father deep in mourning, I could do anything. I brought by copies of the paper the nest day and the family said they really appreciated the article.

A TRAGIC BIRTHDAY TRIP

FAMILY RECALLS FATHER’S LOVE OF SON, NEPHEW AS TRIO DIE ON WAY HOME WITH PUPPY

Rocky Mountain News (CO) – July 22, 2005

Author: Clayton Woullard, Rocky Mountain News

Tattooed along the side of one hand, Barry McDonald Jr. wore the names of his sons who were nearly always by his side.

“He and his boy Arion were really inseparable,” said McDonald’s grandfather, Arthur Saiz. “He wouldn’t leave him nowhere except with us.” On Wednesday night, the father and son were together when they died in a car crash.

McDonald, 20, Arion, 2, and McDonald’s 8-month-old nephew, Jason McDonald, died when the 1998 Mitsubishi they were riding in crashed head-on with a 2004 Dodge pickup on Colorado 2 about a half-mile south of East 96th Avenue in Adams County.

According to Colorado State Patrol, the Mitsubishi was traveling in the southbound lane of Colorado 2 and was trying to pass several cars when it hit the pickup head-on in the northbound lane after both vehicles had veered toward the shoulder to try to avoid the crash.

Both the pickup driver, William Hall, 62, of Colorado Springs, and the driver of the Mitsubishi, Carlos Rosario-Cruz, 20, had moderate injuries and were released from the hospital Thursday afternoon, according to Trooper Eric Wynn, spokesman for the Colorado State Patrol.

Barry McDonald Jr. and Jason McDonald were pronounced dead at the scene. Arion McDonald was airlifted to Children’s Hospital, where he died Wednesday night. Both children were secured in child restraint seats.

Wynn said investigators do not believe drugs or alcohol were a factor in the accident, which was still under investigation Thursday.

According to family members, the McDonalds and Rosario-Cruz were on their way home from picking up a new Doberman pinscher puppy for Arion’s birthday next month. The puppy also died in the crash, the State Patrol said.

Family members gathered Thursday at the McDonald home to remember the three who brought joy every day through their jokes and laughter.

“They were just so happy and just loved everybody,” Barry McDonald Sr. said of his son and two grandsons. “(They) never wanted nothing but fun.”

Brandi McDonald fought back tears as she clutched Mr. Waddles, the stuffed animal duck that belonged to her son, Jason, who McDonald Sr. described as a happy baby.

“He was teething and would still try to grab a smile when he was in pain,” McDonald Sr. said.

McDonald Jr. leaves behind a 1-year-old son, Xavier, with another child due in December. Family members said McDonald Jr.’s girlfriend was four months pregnant and that they had recently picked out a name.

McDonald Sr. said his son wanted to have more kids to continue the family legacy.

“He wanted to have a football team (of kids),” said Barry McDonald Sr. “He said there was no way he was going to let the family line die.”

McDonald Jr. had worked as security guard at the same refinery where his father works as a supervisor, but he was laid off last week. McDonald Sr. said his son had talked about wanting to open a tattoo parlor. He also had a love of classic cars and was working on restoring a 1960 Chevy Impala with his father.

“He was just a comedian, he couldn’t take anything serious,” McDonald Sr. said, adding that Arion was just a smaller version of his father.

McDonald family members said Rosario-Cruz was still in shock and that he was blaming himself for the accident.
woullard@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-892-2958

Edition: Final
Section: News
Page: 5A
Record Number: 0507220257
Copyright (c) 2005 Rocky Mountain News

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