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'Our lost duck friends' remembered

Union Leader Correspondent

February 23. 2014 9:56PM

NASHUA - Five ducks were remembered during a candlelight vigil Sunday outside the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

"It is really sad that we lost these ducks," Keith Carlsen told a crowd of about a dozen people.

Carlsen, a political activist from Keene, organized the candlelight service to honor the five ducks that were run over Dec. 23 by a BMW driven by state Rep. David Campbell, D-Nashua.

"An unfortunate accident happened," said Carlsen, explaining how Campbell had a few drinks at the hotel and then drove his car into the ducks. Campbell was not charged with drunk driving, and maintains he was not intoxicated.

"I don't want to focus on that," Carlsen said, maintaining Sunday's vigil was about the ducks - not politics. The event was not officially part of the New Hampshire Liberty Forum, but it coincided with the three-day conference at the Crowne Plaza.

A moment of silence was held, and five candles lit. A sixth candle was it to represent other ducks that may have been injured in the accident.

While singing "Amazing Grace," those in attendance walked around the oval pond where the flock of ducks typically congregates, placing the candles in the snow.

"I, unfortunately, never got to meet these ducks," said Derrick J. Freeman, who urged people to protect animals whenever possible.Others, including John and Rosalie Babiarz of Grafton, said they have often seen the ducks outside the Crowne Plaza, and found them to be a peaceful sight. "I came to support the efforts, and to memorialize the ducks," Rosalie Babiarz said.

John Babiarz, a Libertarian who ran for governor in 2012, said it is difficult to ignore the politics involved in the duck accident.

"This is a scandal that is still in the making," he said.

Campbell should resign from his House position, according to John Babiarz, who noted that Nashua Police Commission Chairman Thomas Pappas has already stepped down for his involvement in the duck incident.

Pappas picked up Campbell the night of the accident and later called police on Campbell's behalf, asking if his friend could come into the station the following day. The situation has prompted an investigation by the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office.

"There is something to be learned from our lost duck friends," said Garret Ean of Keene, alleging Campbell's lack of responsibility led to their deaths.

Campbell was charged with illegal taking of waterfowl and paid a fine of $620 for the violation, $75 in restitution and donated $695 to New Hampshire Audubon. He has repeatedly apologized for the incident.

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