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|01-16-03: Mendon boy killed in auto accident dreamed of
|By MARGIE WUEBKER
The Daily Standard
MENDON - At 6 years old, Adam Harner knew exactly how he would spend
the rest of his life. He shared the details with his parents, Michael and Sheryl Harner,
finding it difficult to contain his excitement.
He dreamed of being a farmer like his dad, raising beef cattle and
harvesting crops. He also envisioned a second occupation as an artist, drawing on his
penchant for coloring with bright shades.
Those dreams died early Wednesday morning as he and his sister were
bound for a breakfast date and then classes at Parkway Local Schools.
The traffic accident occurred at 6:55 a.m. not far from their 7701
Mercer Road home. The Mercer County Sheriff's Office pinpoints the location as the 6500
block of Mercer Road, five-tenths mile east of Palmer Road, in Union Township.
Sixteen-year-old Abby M. Harner was westbound when she slowed due to
snow and ice on the roadway. The 2002 Chevy Silverado pickup truck veered out of control
and slid off the left side of the roadway. It struck a Dayton Power & Light Co.
utility pole and a Verizon pedestal on the passenger side.
Adam, who was not using a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene,
becoming Mercer County's first traffic fatality of the year. The driver was taken by
ambulance to Joint Township District Memorial Hospital, St. Marys, where she was treated
then released. She reportedly had her seatbelt secured at the time.
Sheryl Harner was at work in Decatur, Ind., when the telephone call
came regarding her children. Initially, she did not think the injuries were severe.
"I headed right home and came upon the accident scene," she
told The Daily Standard this morning. "I asked about Abby and learned she was at a
nearby home. I asked about Adam and no one answered."
Once inside, she learned of his death and tried to console her daughter
before heading back outside.
"I stood by the truck until the coroner came and they had to take
Adam away," Sheryl Harner said in a voice choked with emotion this morning. "It
was so quiet ... so many memories came flooding back. I couldn't believe our little boy
Adam, whom his mother describes as a "spitfire," always
sported a smile and a positive attitude. No one remained a stranger in his presence. He
liked people and they liked him.
"I went to a parent conference and his kindergarten teacher told
me Adam never judged his peers," Sheryl Harner added. "Only then did I learn he
befriended a fellow student with problems and went out of his way to make that child feel
Adam, who longed to play football and baseball for the Parkway
Panthers, demonstrated his love for farming on a daily basis - carefully setting up a
large farm set after dinner. He arranged the toy tractors and assorted implements in neat
fashion just like his dad. The boy's hands always lingered lovingly on the small animal
figures, most noticeably the cows.
He longed to show beef cattle at the Mercer County Fair like his six
sisters and he was looking forward to brother Austin's debut in the show ring this summer.
In the meantime, he happily bided his time feeding, grooming and bedding down the animals.
Adam sometimes accompanied his father on trips to deliver straw in
Kentucky when school was not in session. They had taken such trips over the recent
"He talked the whole way," Michael Harner said as tears fell
in torrents. "He knew everybody down there and they knew him. I should have taken him
The family is struggling to deal with the loss and trying to console
Abby, who feels responsible for her brother's death. The two were very close, often
meeting her boyfriend for breakfast at the Motor Inn before school. They had been headed
there Wednesday morning.
"We try to tell Abby it was an accident," Sheryl Harner said.
"We don't blame her in the least. It could happen to anyone - me, her dad, even her
No charges have been filed in connection with the accident.
The Harners cling to their religious beliefs, knowing the little boy
with aready smile is in a better place.
"His time on earth was short but he made a big impact on the lives
he touched," Sheryl Harner added. "Now he's our little angel in heaven."
The family expressed deep appreciation to law enforcement and rescue
squad personnel who responded to the scene, to relatives and friends who responded with
food and prayers and to Bill and Barb Hamilton who opened their home near the accident
Contributions in Adam's memory can be made to the Long-Range
Improvement Fund of the Mercer County Fairgrounds, in care of the Mercer County Civic
An obituary appears on page 5A of today's paper.
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