It’ll be a Father’s Day Roddickton dad Tennis Cassell will remember for the rest of his life.
On June 17, Mr. Cassell, like the rest of the dads on the Northern Peninsula and Southern Labrador, was getting ready to spend Father’s Day with his family.
He was waiting for a visit from his 20-year-old son, Tyler, who was camping with his twin brother and a few of their friends, in an area about 45 minutes outside of Roddickton.
Knowing his dad was waiting, Tyler left the campsite to return to Roddickton for supplies, and to freshen up before spending the day with his father.
However, Tyler never arrived.
“We had plans…he was supposed to come home, but he didn’t show up,” said Darlene Humby-Cassell, Tyler’s mother. “We waited, and waited, and, obviously, we knew something was wrong because we hadn’t heard from him.”
Tyler left the campsite alone, which would turn out to be a very wise decision. The concerned parents left their home to travel to the campsite to look for Tyler, where they learned firsthand that something horrible had happened – their son had been in an accident.
“We went looking for him,” said Ms. Humby-Cassell. “When we got down there, we found out he already worried his brother by sending him a partial text (before his phone died). He has a lot of friends around here, so they were going in different directions in their cars trying to find him, because they didn’t want to upset his dad.”
The partial text contained the message that Tyler was indeed in an accident, and he was hurt.
As the large group of friends looked for Tyler, who was knocked unconscious for several minutes, the 20-year-old made his way back to the highway, and radioed for help from a nearby highway depot.
After help arrived, Tyler was taken to the Roddickton Health Centre, where he was admitted for observation.
The following day, besides being in a state of confusion and having a severe headache, Tyler was doing fine.
He was taken by ambulance to the hospital in St. Anthony for a CT scan as a precaution, and was later released.
Although his memory of the incident is cloudy, he remembers enough to paint a very scary picture.
“He said a moose came up on the road, he can remember that, and then the moose went off the road,” said Ms. Humby-Cassell. “He didn’t think for a minute the moose was going to come back on the road, but he did, and he came charging at the car. That’s probably why the moose ended up in the vehicle, but I don’t know. I really don’t.”
The moose, a cow, was wedged behind the passenger seat of the car, and actually died in the vehicle, which is why Tyler’s family is thankful he drove alone.
“The head of the moose was on the headrest of the passenger seat, and its hooves were under the dash,” said Ms. Humby-Cassell.
Although Tyler escaped with minimal physical injuries, Ms. Humby-Cassell will never forget the feeling of not knowing if her son was okay, or if he was even alive.
For the Roddickton mother, it’s something she doesn’t want to go through again, and she doesn’t want anybody else to go through it either.
“We were scared to death. We had no clue what was going on,” she said. “We expected anything, practically.”
The family is trying to put the event behind them and move on with their lives. Tyler is getting a lot of support from his family at home, and a huge circle of friends in the town of Roddickton.
Moving forward, Ms. Humby-Cassell wants to let everyone know there are hoards of moose in the woods on the Northern Peninsula, and everyone has to keep that fact in mind while driving.
She also wants to hug each and every person that helped search for her baby boy.
“He’s very resilient…a phenomenal young man. He’s an excellent son, a reliable young man, and he has a lot of friends,” said Ms. Humby-Cassell. “There have been a lot of tragedies in this area with moose, and that’s all that was running through my mind. All of the parents of the kids who have died, I know them personally, and that’s all that was going through my mind that night. People don’t think there are a lot of moose in the area, but there’s loads, and loads, and loads of moose. A lot more than people realize. You have to slow down and always assume there’s moose on the road.
“I want to send a great big hug out to everyone who supported our family, and those that searched for Tyler. If I could give all of them one big group hug, I would. They’re so sweet. The people in this area are amazing.”