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Family told of driver’s death 2 days after wreck
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
By BULLETIN STAFF REPORTS -
A Ridgeway man who was injured in a motorcycle-pickup collision on Saturday died later that day, according to the family and the Virginia State Police, but his family said they were not notified for two days.
Kim Jerome Hopkins, 57, was flown to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., after the accident, which occurred shortly before 2 p.m. at the intersection of Sandy River Road and A.L. Philpott Highway, State Trooper Matt Lovette said at the time.
The Chevrolet pickup was driven by Martin Hugh Hardy Jr., 72, of Axton, according to a state police news release. He was charged with fail to yield the right of way, the release added.
The release also stated that Hopkins was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.
According to Hopkins’ brother, Tommy Hopkins, also of Ridgeway, Kim Hopkins died around 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Baptist Medical Center.
Tommy Hopkins said the family was not aware Saturday afternoon that Kim Hopkins had been in an accident. He said his brother was coming home from his job at IKEA in Ringgold in Pittsylvania County when the accident occurred.
On Monday afternoon, Kim Hopkins’ neighbors called the family and said they noticed he had not been home, which was unlike him, Tommy Hopkins said, adding that his brother lived alone.
“We called 911 to file a missing person’s report,” Tommy Hopkins said.
When a Henry County sheriff’s deputy arrived to prepare the report, the deputy had just learned that Kim Hopkins had died, Tommy Hopkins said.
Trooper Lovette also met with the family, said Hopkins.
“He apologized emphatically,” Hopkins said.
His sister, Lisa Hines of Martinsville, said the trooper apologized because he did not know that Kim Hopkins had died until Monday.
Sgt. Robert Carpentieri verified that the Virginia State Police was notified of Hopkins’ death “late yesterday (Monday).” He added that could have occurred because the hospital is out of state and/or it didn’t know what trooper to contact.
A spokesman at Baptist Medical Center declined to comment to the Martinsville Bulletin, saying the family members would have to find out why they were not notified sooner.
The family intends to go to Baptist Medical Center today to retrieve Kim Hopkins’ clothes and wallet, Hines said.
“We are just shocked,” she said Tuesday. “We want answers, too. We want to know where the communication broke down.”
Hines said the family does not know her brother’s cause of death or the nature of his injuries. She said the trooper told them he saw her brother talking to rescue or EMS workers and she wonders if he asked if a family member could be notified of the accident.
“We don’t want to lay blame anywhere. We just want to find out why it took from Saturday to Monday to notify us,” she added.
Trooper Lovette could not be reached for comment Tuesday.