Carroll family mourns young mechanic

Boy, 12, apparently killed by carbon monoxide

February 19, 2003|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN STAFF

Glendon William Bell Jr. loved fixing old cars and talking with mechanics far more than playing sports or seeking mischief. If that made the Mount Airy boy an atypical 12-year-old, family members said, it only made him more endearing to his father and uncles, all mechanics.

His family was hardly surprised that Glendon would become distracted from shoveling snow and start fiddling with the 1992 Ford Festiva that was his latest reclamation project.

"He didn't want anything new because the thing for him was to get it up and running," said Glendon's brother-in-law Steven Gosnell of Mount Airy. "Even though he was 12, he could tear anything apart and put it back together - cars, three-wheelers, tractors, anything old."

Glendon got the Festiva running Monday afternoon, even though he didn't have the key. But the snow had encased the car, blocking its exhaust. Within minutes, police believe, carbon monoxide had filled the car and left Glendon, a seventh-grader at Mount Airy Middle School, unconscious.

When his father found him, he administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation but couldn't revive the boy. Neither could paramedics. He was pronounced dead at Frederick Memorial Hospital.

An autopsy was conducted yesterday and preliminary results showed that carbon monoxide almost certainly caused Glendon's death, said Dr. David Fowler, the state's chief medical examiner. It was one of four deaths in the Baltimore area believed to have been caused by carbon monoxide poisoning from cars snowed in by Sunday's storm.

Glendon William Bell Sr. said he and his son went to the house in the 200 block of Park Ave. in Mount Airy to clear snow Monday for an elderly friend of the family. Bell said the boy told him he was going to shovel behind the house while the father cleared the driveway using a Bobcat, Bell recalled. After about 15 minutes, Bell went to check on his son and found him in the car.

"He was a unique, kind, goodhearted kid," said his weeping father, standing outside his Mount Airy home yesterday. "Everybody around here can tell you that."

Bell, who with his brothers owns Bill Bell Auto Service in Dayton, said it was not unusual for his son to stop and tinker with a car. The boy had always loved old cars, tractors and trucks, his father said.

Bell said the Festiva was a junker he and his son had been rebuilding. The owner of the house on Park Avenue let them keep old cars and trucks at her property, he said.

Neighbor Roy Filmore Dorsey, 70, said Glendon stopped by frequently to fix old mowers and lawn tractors. The paid shared a fascination for machinery, and Dorsey said he had no doubt Glendon would have grown up to become a mechanic.

"He was always finding old mowers and buying them at auction so he could tinker with them and then the next thing you know, he'd be riding around on them," Dorsey recalled.

Bell said his son never had many friends his own age because he most enjoyed talking with adults about mechanics or tending to younger children.

Glendon also is survived by his mother, Judy, and sisters Jodi Bell, Traci Hawkins and Jill Gosnell, all of Mount Airy.

Sun staff writers Mary Gail Hare and Jennifer McMenamin contributed to this article.

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