Harford County was stunned this week by the death of Benjamin Boniface, the 20-year-old son of Harford County Council President Billy Boniface, who was killed when his pickup crashed in the wee hours of Monday morning on his family's farm.
Mr. Boniface died at the farm in the 3700 block of Harmony Church Road in Darlington, according to the Harford County Sheriff's Office. He was driving a 1994 Ford pickup along a private farm lane when the accident occurred. A night watchman located the truck on the property at about 4:15 a.m. and called the young man's father, the council president, waking him in the middle of the night with the phone call no parent wants.
Deputies "believe that the driver lost control of his vehicle when he failed to negotiate a curve," the sheriff's office said in a statement. "The vehicle left the roadway and struck a fence. Parts of the fence went through the windshield causing trauma to the driver."
Mr. Boniface was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS personnel at about 4:58 a.m., the sheriff's office said.
Monica Worrell, spokesperson for the sheriff's office, said that because it was an unattended death, the body was taken to the Office of the State Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy.
The police report says "no medications or illicit drug use was observed," according to Worrell, who added that any information about alcohol use would be determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
The Boniface family owns and operates Bonita Farm, a thoroughbred breeding and training farm, where the accident occurred. Mr. Boniface graduated from the John Carroll School in Bel Air in 2010.
State Sen. Barry Glassman, a friend of the Boniface family for decades, said he was with the county council president all day Monday to offer his support.
"He's exhausted, but doing as well as can be expected," Glassman said about his longtime friend.
The two have known each other since they were teenagers and, as Glassman put it, "friendship comes before politics."
Havre de Grace City Councilman John Correri said Monday evening his heart is broken for the Boniface family, who Correri has known for decades.
"A tremendous young man, a bright future ahead for him, just a tragic event this morning," Correri said about Mr. Boniface.
County Councilman Dion Guthrie said the council members have tried to leave the Boniface family in peace, while at the same time sending their condolences to the entire family.
"It's a tough time. It's the wrong sequence," Guthrie said Tuesday about the death.