Calgary father mourns son killed in fatal crash

“I try to accept it. I find it difficult to understand what really happened. The best way to describe it is that I feel lost.

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Robert Donoghue last spoke with his son 10 minutes before his death.

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Robert had just returned from getting new passports for himself and Mitchell Donoghue, his 20-year-old son, for an upcoming trip to Paris. He called to let Mitchell know he had them picked up.

“He said, ‘Oh good daddy! After the summer, we will see where we will go in Paris. I told him I would see him after work. It was 10:30 a.m.,” Robert said. “At 10:40 a.m. he was dead.

Mitchell was on his way to work at GoodLife Fitness on Tuesday morning and was driving along Midpark Boulevard SE when he stopped at a red light on Midlake Boulevard.

While waiting, a 79-year-old man driving an SUV crossed the median turning left and slammed into the driver’s side of Mitchell’s blue Chevrolet Camaro. The impact pushed the Camaro onto the sidewalk and into the backyard of a house on Midpark Gardens.

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Robert said a medical examiner told him Mitchell died instantly.

He remembers helping Mitchell choose the Camaro because it offered better crash protection than other sports cars.

“I try to accept it. I find it difficult to understand what really happened. The best way to describe it is that I feel lost.

Calgary police are investigating the scene of a fatal collision at the intersection of Midlake Blvd.  and Midpark Blvd.  SE on Tuesday, May 3, 2022.
Calgary police are investigating the scene of a fatal collision at the intersection of Midlake Blvd. and Midpark Blvd. SE on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. Photo by Azin Ghaffari / Postmedia

Calgary police said the driver remains hospitalized and the investigation is ongoing. No charges have yet been filed against the driver as toxicology reports and other lab reports are being processed.

“This is what investigators need to determine some of the next steps, and why it is not uncommon for charges (if warranted) to be laid months after the collision,” a spokesperson wrote. Calgary police in an email to Postmedia.

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“Investigators are also looking into the possibility of a medical cause, but are unable to confirm at this time.”

Police said investigators believe speed was a factor in the crash.

“I’m not ready to let go”

Robert and Mitchell, the youngest of three children, were inseparable. Mitchell left Ontario to live with his father in Calgary after his parents divorced.

When Robert worked as a truck driver, Mitchell kept him company during the long hours on the road. He often joined Robert, who competed as a bodybuilder, at the gym for workouts.

Being the same height, Mitchell wore Robert’s clothes to the point where their wardrobes were interchangeable. Picking up her son’s belongings from the funeral home this week was a stark reminder of their bond.

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“I just picked up his clothes that he died in the accident. And that was my outfit that I wore the night before,” he said. “It’s not like her clothes that I care about.”

Robert said he always knew how caring Mitchell was, but he only realized the impact his son left on the lives of others after his death. Several of Mitchell’s friends told him how he would stay and comfort them during some of the darkest times in their lives.

“They said to me, ‘I live here now because of your son, thank you for sharing it with us,'” Robert said. world had the same weight, the same time and the same respect from him.

Mitchell Donoghue pictured in front of his Camaro.
Mitchell Donoghue pictured in front of his Camaro. Submitted photo/family photo

With the way his son was suddenly removed from his life, Robert said he struggled to come to terms with Mitchell’s death.

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He can’t sleep thinking about when the police came to his door. He said he still catches himself thinking that Mitchell was coming home from work or that he was just in another room upstairs.

“Tomorrow I’ll wake up and think he’s back home. I fight to accept it, but I’m not ready to let go.

Hours before the collision, Mitchell had given his father a ring he loved to keep before he could have it resized. Mitchell had saved up and bought the ring himself, one of the few possessions that Robert felt truly belonged to him.

Calgary’s father now wears the ring on his right hand to keep his son close. He said he feared his memory would lose bits of his son over time, such as the sound of his voice or his smile.

“I just want to be with him and hold him. I was with him his whole life, and now you’re being told you can’t see him anymore. You will never be able to hold his hand again, or smell him again. I do not know what to do. My life was him.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to cover the costs of returning Mitchell to Ontario for the funeral. On Friday afternoon, $18,000 of the $20,000 goal was raised.

bgervais@postmedia.com

Twitter: @BrittGervais

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