Gone too soon: Brimfield teen remembered as jokester and expert chess player – Pekin Daily Times

Chess

BRIMFIELD Benjamin Bedell was a fun-loving guy who always made his classmates laugh, a former teacher said.

"He had a real dry sense of humor. He was fun to call on for answers to things. He would say something silly, and then he would come up with the answer," said Scott Carlson, the social studies teacher and basketball coach at Brimfield High School. "He was just a kid that all the other classmates enjoyed having in class because they knew he would crack up the class once or twice during the time he was there. I think he enjoyed being at school because he had his friends around him and he knew he could get a laugh or two."

Bedell, 18, a 2020 graduate of Brimfield High School, was pronounced dead about 4 p.m. Tuesday at the scene of the wreck at Illinois Route 89 and County Road 2100 North, a few miles south of Washburn.

The accident happened about 3 p.m. Tuesday when Bedell was driving east on the county road and pulled into the Route 89 intersection. He was struck by a northbound semitrailer truck hauling grain. The truck driver, Glenn Edwards, 70, of Henderson, Tenn., was taken by LifeFlight to OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria.

In addition to having a great sense of humor, Bedell was also a fine chess player, said Robert Bernales, the Brimfield High School math teacher and chess coach.

"He was an awesome chess player, probably the heart and soul of the team," said Bernales. "He was well-respected."

Bedell joined the chess team as a novice player, but he soon became an expert.

"He was a quick learner. He picked up the game and strategies very fast," said Bernales. "He actually beat me in a few games he pulled some surprises on me in a few games."

Bernales recalled a match against Metamora that appeared all but lost.

"He was losing pretty badly, and his opponent wasnt being very careful, and Ben found the one winning move it was perfect," said Bernales. "I remember the player from Metamora got mad and stormed out, but they became friends later. It was a pretty awesome game."

Wednesday was a rough day for teachers and students at Brimfield High School. With a student body of only about 240, everyone pretty much knows everybody. Bernales was among the many who took a day off to deal with their grief.

"We had quite a few not here, actually, and it was pretty somber," said Carlson. "It wasnt that long ago that we lost another student, Aaron Miller. A lot of their friends are the same people. Brimfield has been hit really hard for everybody to take. Especially their families and friends are definitely hurting."

Miller, 16, had just finished the first day of his junior year at Brimfield High School on Aug. 19 when he died in a single-vehicle wreck on U.S. Route 150 in Peoria County.

"Everybody around here is shocked and very sad," said Carlson. "Its going to take awhile to get past it, Im sure. We are praying for their families and friends."

Leslie Renken can be reached at 270-8503 or lrenken@pjstar.com. Follow her on Twitter.com/LeslieRenken, and subscribe to her on Facebook.com/leslie.renken.

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Gone too soon: Brimfield teen remembered as jokester and expert chess player - Pekin Daily Times

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