BEL AIR, Md. (WJZ) — Shock and heartbreak. Those are the two emotions that surrounded a tragic accident in Harford County in March.
A tractor-trailer slammed into 11 cars stopped at an intersection, killing 7-year-old Tripp Johnson and 65-year-old Andrew Klein, the president and CEO of Klein’s Shoprite.
The Klein family opened up for the first time about how they’re coping with the tremendous loss of a husband and father and how they’re waiting for answers about what happened the morning of March 11.
The fiery crash left a debris field that stretched a quarter mile on Route 24. It also devastated two families.
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“He just believed in me more than I believed in myself and that’s every kid’s dream,” Klein’s daughter Rachel said through tears.
Rachel and her siblings said they still cannot believe their dad is gone.
“Everyday I want to call him up and send him a text and be like ‘hey dad’,” Sarah Klein said.
The Klein family first heard about the accident that morning as people called and texted when they saw it involved a Klein Shoprite truck.
“The accident happened and we knew it was a Shoprite truck and 12 cars — and they sent an email out if you get any inquiries – and I said is the driver ok? We had no idea,” Sarah Klein said.
But soon they would learn the cruel fate — Andrew Klein was killed by a tractor-trailer hauling his company’s freight.
Police said the truck driver, 49-year-old Carloo Watson of Brunswick, NJ, failed to stop and plowed into the cars.
“To find out my dad was in the accident was shocking,” Sarah Klein said.
Six weeks after the accident Maryland State Police said it’s still under investigation. The state police’s crash team is still analyzing accident reconstruction, conducting witness interviews and reviewing surveillance video from the scene. Once their investigation is complete, they will turn over their findings to the Harford County State’s Attorney’s office.
The only update they have is that the driver showed no signs of impairment.
With no concrete answers or charges against the driver in the Maryland accident, the Klein family said it’s instead focusing on Andrew’s legacy.
The Harford County philanthropist touched so many lives through his work with the Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation, The Hooper House, Harford County’s First Hospice Center, The Boy Scouts and The Jewish National Fund.
“He gave from his heart, he didn’t have a big ego, he didn’t need a lot of recognition but he really wanted to help other people,” said Andrew’s wife Jayne. “He felt like that was his mission when he was put on Earth, to help other people.”
The Klein family said they think of little Tripp Johnson all the time and his family, too, who lost so much that morning.
“It’s such a tragedy to lose the little boy and I think they were at both ends of life, he was just at the beginning and my dad was closer to the end,” Rachel Klein said. “But I know nothing would have made my Dad more upset to know the little boy was lost, too.”
“Someone has said that they can just imagine my dad holding Tripp’s hand as they go up together and there would be no one who would take care of him better than my dad,” Sarah Klein said.