CABARRUS COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A 28-year-old husband, father and U.S. Army veteran was killed after wind caused a large shed to collapse on Zion Church Road in Cabarrus County.
Brad Benton’s wife Leslie says it was her husband and soulmate who was killed in the shed.
She said she and his friends Dustin Smits were inside the shed at the time it collapsed.
The day after the collapse the whole family was gathered together at the Benton’s home.
“When I got the phone call I said you don’t know how one phone call can change your life,” said Teresa Dakins, Benton’s aunt. “It’s very numbing and surreal.”
Dakins says the life of her 28-year-old nephew Brad Benton is gone too soon.
“He was very special and precious to my family,” said Dakins. “Anything we needed Brad was there.”
Dakins said after Benton’s mother died, she felt he was more like a child to her.
Benton’s grandfather, Jimmie Smith, said he talked to his grandson just before Benton set out to work on a shed on Friday.
“I said Brad, I said really as bad as this wind’s blowing, I’d like for you to call it off till tomorrow at least,” said Jimmie Smith, Benton’s grandfather.
Smith says Brad was a hardworking, determined man, with work-ethic learned in part from his time serving in Afghanistan. Benton decided to try to get the work done on the shed on Friday.
Dakins says Benton’s 7 and 9 year old sons, Jaxson and Rylan, usually worked with their dad, but not on Friday.
“It’s kind of amazing that they weren’t there,” said Dakins. “I said I guess the good Lord had a hand in that.”
“The wind was gusting pretty high and it was an older building and so just perfect conditions the wind caught it just right,” said a first-responder at the scene.
Family members said Benton’s young sons ran to get help when they heard the shed collapse.
“Yesterday when the accident happened the boys ran and got help,” said Dakins.
When first responders arrived, family said Brad was already dead.
Brad’s wife of nearly 10 years, Leslie, said she wanted the shed and its tragedy gone, so today they burned it.
“They have cut up that building and got that building torn down and their burning it,” said Dakins.
Leslie Benton said Brad was a heroic veteran, actively volunteered to help others and was everything you could dream of in a husband and father, and that he “lived and breathed for me and those kids.”
Benton’s family and friends gathered at the home on Saturday and burned the remainder of the structure so that it could not serve as a reminder of the incident to his children.
“Brad’s two boys don’t fully understand yet the magnitude of how their world is going to change,” said Dakins.
The family said if you want to help this family in any way, they have simply asked for prayers. They said they have seen comments on other stories of family’s who have lost loved ones, and they are usually the ones to write a comment and offer to pray, but now they need that from the community.