'You need to say I love you': Widow remembers father of nine killed in Hwy 400 crash
One of three people killed in an fiery, apocalyptic crash on Hwy 400 is being remembered as a big-hearted family man, always willing to lend a helping hand.
Nikiyah Mulak-Dunn of North Bay tells NEWSTALK 1010 her husband, 37-year-old Benjamin Dunn is among the dead. The couple has nine children together, ranging in age from one to 16.
"He was a very hard worker, a very devoted, loving father and an amazing husband who always put his family first," Mulak-Dunn said Thursday. She also gushed about her 'farm boy' husband's love of animals and people and his selfless nature.
Mulak-Dunn says her husband had been driving a double fuel tanker to North Bay on Tuesday night. As sole provider for his family, Benjamin has worked as a trucker for about decade, also juggling jobs as a welder and miner.
Mulak-Dunn says she doesn't know where in the field of carnage her husband and his truck were.
OPP believe the crash involving 14 vehicles, including two tanker trucks and three transport trucks, was triggered by a tanker truck that slammed into vehicles that had slowed for cleanup of a more minor crash about 1 km ahead. OPP Kerry Schmidt would not confirm where in the wreckage the three deceased were found.
Like many others, Mulak-Dunn was stunned when she saw photos of the Hwy 400 inferno on Wednesday morning. She started to panic when she realized the crash was on Benjamin's route home. Then a friend sent Mulak-Dunn a photo that clearly showed her husband's Marnan Bulk Carrier truck with an identifiable number engulfed in flames.
Sgt. Kerry Schmidt/OPP
Mulak-Dunn says police told her they were "99.9% sure" her husband was among the dead. They asked her to pass along the name of her husband's dentist so they could access dental records to confirm his death.
Devastated and shocked, Mulak-Dunn didn't know how to handle telling her children that their father wasn't coming home. She called a grief counsellor and extended family members to her home and together they broke the tragic news.
"They were just so shocked and devastated and we cried a lot for many hours. We were crying and just being there for each other, hugging and supporting each other and just so in shock."
Mulak-Dunn admits she's concerned about being able to make car payments to keep her big family active in their community and other living expenses.
She has a message for people reading her family's story of loss:
"You need to say I love you and you need to hug your family a lot more often than you think you should because you never know when it's your last day on this earth."