Benjamin Coutu was watching TV footage of the Boston Marathon bombings when he did a double take. Was that his good friend’s younger brother, Kevin White, being carted away by paramedics?
“I waited by the TV to see it again,” Coutu said. “I’m like, ‘Man, I think it is.’ ”
Coutu had not seen White in a decade; he had been closer with Andrew White, Kevin’s older brother. As he watched and re-watched the footage, he thought to himself: “Maybe I’m making too much of it. Maybe I want to personalize.” He got out his camera anyway, snapped a photo of the screen, and sent it to Andrew.
In Portland, Ore., Andrew’s phone was “buzzing constantly,” Coutu said. The clinical psychologist was in a session, not knowing what had happened on the East Coast, not knowing that his mother, father and brother had been seriously wounded in a bombing, Coutu said.
“Apparently, it was Kevin trying to get through,” Coutu said.
By that evening, Coutu said, Andrew was on a plane to Boston to be with his family members.
Their injuries, Coutu said, were serious. Kevin White had trauma to his abdomen and several hairline fractures; he was released from the hospital April 17, Coutu said.
Kevin and Andrew’s mother, Mary Jo White, had a seriously wounded hand and was discharged April 19, Coutu said.
And Kevin and Andrew’s father, Bill White, remains hospitalized after being transferred out of intensive care last week. One of his legs was severed below the knee, Coutu said.
Kevin, Mary Jo and Bill did not know anyone running in the marathon, Coutu said, but they decided to grab lunch in Boston and watch the race.
Coutu, 38, of Fitchburg, Mass., said he spent time with Andrew White — a classmate from Lawrence Academy in Groton, Mass. — on the night authorities apprehended the second suspect.
They hugged and reflected on the culmination of a “crazy week.”
“There’s such a relief, and honestly the best part was seeing the cheering crowds in Watertown on TV,” Coutu said. “We were just both happy that he was caught, not just for safety but for the morale of everyone watching.”