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2014 In Review: New Canaan Endures Two Tragic Deaths

New Canaan Department of Public Works employee Benjamin Olmstead, 71, died of injuries sustained after he was hit by a truck while on the job.
New Canaan Department of Public Works employee Benjamin Olmstead, 71, died of injuries sustained after he was hit by a truck while on the job. Photo Credit: File

NEW CANAAN, Conn., -- Tragedy marked New Canaan in 2014 with the accidental deaths of a young child and a town worker, both of whom were killed by motor vehicles.

Declan Leo Cooney, 23 months old, died June 6 after he was struck by a car in the driveway of a Mill Road home. The toddler was hit by a vehicle that was backing out of the residential driveway at 233 Mill Road, said police, who called it an accident.

New Canaan police released few details of the accident involving the toddler, who was remembered as a loving boy who was generous with his hugs

In another tragedy, Department of Public Works employee Benjamin Olmstead, 71, died after he was hit by a truck on July 23 as he was spray-painting markings at the intersection of New Norwalk Road and East Avenue. 

Police, calling it a tragic accident, determined in late fall after an investigation that proper precautions were not taken before the road work began. 

In a court case that rocked the town, former White House lawyer John Michael Farren was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Sept. 11 after he was found guilty of the attempted murder of his wife.

Farren launched a brutal attack on his wife, Mary Farren, on Jan. 6, 2010, two days after she served him with divorce papers. He struck her repeatedly with a heavy metal flashlight and also choked her. She escaped the house with her two young daughters and drove to a neighbors home despite her severe injuries. Mary Farren was awarded $28.6 million in damages for the attack in a civil trial.

New Canaan’s Curt Casali made his Major League Baseball debut after he was called up by the Tampa Bay Rays in July. The 25-year-old got the promotion after starting catcher Ryan Harrigan was placed on the disabled list. But Casali's season ended in September after he suffered a concussion.

In another sports story, legendary coach Bo Hickey retired after 21 years of leading New Canaan High School boys hockey. It was a remarkable run that included 10 FCIAC championships and six trips to the final game of the state championships.

In political news in town, state Rep. Thomas O'Dea was easily re-elected for his second term in office. The Republican captured 88 percent of the vote against Green Party candidate David Bedell.

In the town's other House race, Republican Fred Wilms of Norwalk retained the 142nd District seat for the GOP as he defeated Democrat Andy Garfunkel. 

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