MANSFIELD — “It’s been a long day without you my friend, and I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again.”
The Wiz Khalifa lyric soared from a small radio as friends of 13-year-old Shane Farrell gathered Thursday afternoon to mourn his death in a bicycle accident the day before. Next to a makeshift memorial of balloons, bouquets, and smiling teddy bears, a crowd of downcast boys linked arms and offered support to one another.
“The last thing he said was, ‘I love that song. See you again,’ ” said Joe Moran, 13, who recounted speaking to Shane minutes before the accident.
The Mansfield teen, a seventh-grader at Harold L. Qualters Middle School, was riding his bicycle home from school when he collided with a school bus near 37 East St. just before 2 p.m. Wednesday, State Police spokesman David Procopio said in a phone interview.
Shane was pronounced dead at the scene, and the students on the bus were taken to Qualters Middle School and Mansfield High School, where grief counselors were available for them, Police Chief Ronald Sellon and School Superintendent Zeffro Gianetti said in a joint statement Wednesday.
Qualters Middle School administrators declined to comment further Thursday.
The cause of the crash was not clear Thursday as police continued to investigate.
“For reasons still under investigation, Shane’s bicycle moved from the sidewalk and struck the rear of the bus,” Procopio said by phone. The investigation may not be completed for several weeks, he added.
Mansfield police and the Bristol district attorney’s office, with assistance from State Police, are investigating, Procopio said in a separate statement.
Gregg Miliote, a spokesman for the Bristol district attorney, said the crash appeared to be an accident, but that was still being investigated.
“It does appear to be accidental,” Miliote said. “There’s still an investigation going on, and we don’t speculate or release information until it is complete.”
The boy’s father, Brian Farrell, understands that his son’s death was likely an accident, family spokesman Anthony Linden said by phone, and Linden said Farrell wants to meet the driver to assure him that he feels no ill will.
“We are all in a state of profound shock and disbelief at this time,” Farrell said in a statement provided by Linden. “We have suffered a great loss and are doing our best to get through it with the love and support of our friends, family, and church.”
The family is working on arrangements for a funeral service, Linden said.
“He was a true gift,” Linden said. “Those who knew him were lucky to have him as a friend and son.”
Minister Peter Clark of the Edgewood Church of Christ in Mansfield, where the Farrell family attends, said his thoughts and prayers include the driver and the students aboard the bus at the time of the accident, as well as the Farrell family.
“Our hearts go out not only to Shane, but also to the community of Mansfield,” Clark said.
Shane was a devout member of the church, Linden and Clark said, and he and his father cooked and served meals to homeless people once a month.
At the memorial site Thursday afternoon, Heather Gage, a Mansfield mother of two who witnessed the crash, said she was horrified about what happened.
“I saw the bus go on the curb. I saw the body. I saw the blood. It’s just heart-breaking to see that situation,” she said.
The memorial display includes a school sports jacket emblazoned with Mansfield Hornets.
“He was supposed to play football this year on the A team,” said his classmate Joe Moran, 13.
In addition to athletics, Shane was interested in film, shooting short videos with his friend, Jake Carlino, 16. One, called, “The Hit and Run,” stars Shane as the victim of a hit-and-run crash in a video created for his YouTube channel, “Spirit in the Sky Productions.”
And he knew how to tell a joke, even if they “weren’t that funny,” said classmate Jack Larochelle, who befriended Shane in French class.
“He’s the kid you see in the hallway who’ll make your day a thousand times better,” he said.
Friends miss his corny jokes and his way of making them laugh, Jack said.
Rosa Nguyen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.