NEW CASTLE, Pa. - The devastated mother of a 7-year-old New Castle boy killed by a wayward pickup truck spoke on Tuesday exclusively to Channel 11 News reporter Amy Marcinkiewicz.
So heartbroken that she could barely walk, Chanet Jones had difficulty talking. Her words regarding her recently deceased son, Octavius Stone, were those of a fragile, vulnerable mother looking for some semblance of comfort.
"This is my baby. He's a superhero," she said. "I want people to see where my baby died."
Authorities said that Virgil Coonfare, 66, of New Castle, was high on a controlled substance when he drove a truck into the front yard of a Lawrence County home on Sunday, killing 7-year-old Octavius.
Police charged Coonfare, who was driving with a suspended license, with homicide by vehicle while under the influence, aggravated assault by vehicle while under the influence and driving under the influence. He is accused of killing Octavius and severely injuring Ozzy Velez, 9, as the two played in a front yard on Winslow Avenue, according to a criminal complaint filed against Coonfare.
Autopsy results showed that Octavius died of blunt force trauma to the chest, county Deputy Coroner Richard Johnson said. Police said Velez was flown to UPMC Children's Hospital in Lawrenceville.
Jones said that she held her first child until he took his final breath.
"He looked up at me and then he stopped breathing," she recalled. "I know he is gone. I'll never hear him say 'I love you' again."
Jones remembered that Octavius wanted to be a superhero, and in the end, his actions were indeed heroic. He pushed his friend Ozzy out of the truck's way, saving his life.
Jones and Octavius' father, Kris Stone, told Channel 11 News that they want to give their son a proper funeral.
"We want to do him up right," Jones said. "He deserves it."
Community members gathered Tuesday night to honor Octavius' life at a candle light vigil.
Donations to the Octavius Stone Memorial Fund can be made at any PNC Bank location.