Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


April 18, 2013


Andover residents swept up in tragedy at the Marathon


“The bottom line for our family was they were safe, and I was safe,” Dennis Johnson said. “The news was reporting two fatalities (at the time), I think 89, 98 people hospitalized or at the hospital. ... It could have happened to any of the family members. Fortunately, it didn’t.”

Eventually, Paul Kelley was reunited with Samantha and her friend, too. A family friend found the two young women wandering the scene and sent text messages to the appropriate parties.

“It was horrifying to say the least. As a father, I was terrified. I couldn’t find her,” Paul Kelley said of his daughter.

Samantha said the sight of her father broke her out of her state of shock and brought her back down to Earth.

“When I saw my dad walking toward me, it was one of those things you thought you’d never feel. It felt like I was in a movie,” she said. “I just ran to him and started bawling my eyes out. That’s when it hit me.”

Samantha Kelley and Huntley weren’t seriously harmed, but were later checked out at Lawrence General Hospital as a precaution. The worst Kelley had was an ear concussion, a side effect expected to go away in time, her father said.

Back in Andover a few hours after the race, Doucett searched her mind for a motive, something to explain why the bombs went off in the first place.

“Why?,” she said. “If there was any targeting toward other nations represented here for the race, that was an hour or more earlier. It just seemed senseless.

“I can’t imagine a motive other than there was a lot of people in one place.”

Tom Poland, manager of the Greater Boston Running Co. store in downtown Andover, said although all the people associated with the store who ran Monday’s marathon made it out OK, Monday’s events are “terrible circumstances” for the running community.

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