“He cared, and that's why he stopped today,” Col. John Cote, Maine State Police chief, said at a press conference held at the Bangor barracks. “That's why, although he was heading to be an instructor at a training assignment, he didn't hesitate. He saw that person there in need of assistance and that became his priority. Assisting that person – protecting them from potential impact. He didn't know any other way to do it.”
Campbell stopped to help a driver who had spun out Wednesday morning on Interstate 95 near the Coldbrook Road exit in Hampden. After he called for back up, a logging truck approached.
“Two wheels separated from the tractor trailer as it approached detective Campbell and that vehicle,” Cote said. “One of those wheels rolled harmlessly into the median. The other wheel rolled and struck detective Campbell as he was outside of his vehicle in the breakdown lane.
“He received grave injuries as a result of the impact and despite the best efforts of many EMS, fire, police that responded to assist him, he would later succumb to his injuries,” the colonel added, his voice thick with grief.
“It's been a tragic day for the Campbell family. It's been a tough day for our agency,” Cote said. “We've lost one of our very best and we've certainly lost one of Maine's very best.”
Campbell joined the force in 2012, and within just a few years earned the rank of detective. He was assigned to the polygraph unit, helping with the criminal investigations.
He is survived by his wife, Hilary, and 6-month-old son.
“We've got some really strong people and we have a very unique connection,” Cote said. “And although we are a large agency, we are very small. We know each other. We know wives and kids and there is no doubt we're hurting.”
He added, “Ben would have been 32 on Monday. He grew up in East Hampton, Massachusetts and was a graduate of Westfield State College.”
Campbell was taken to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor and troopers remain with his body and family as they await other family from Massachusetts to arrive.
“I can't thank the number of people from many different agencies that have reached out to express their condolences to the Campbell family and our department,” Cote said.
Campbell is the first Maine State Police officer to die in the line of duty since 1997.
Throughout the day, Maine State Police troopers and officers, as well as other law enforcement and first responders from across the state changed their Facebook profile pictures to an image of a Maine State Police badge, wrapped in black band.
It's a sign of mourning.