Jennifer Courtney Thomasson was one of those people who tried to take care of everyone else.
“She was a loving person. That’s what her whole life was — checking on everybody,” said her father, Lane Thomasson of Bassett, on Saturday.
Courtney Thomasson, 28, was returning home from doing just that on Thursday night when she was involved in a head-on collision on U.S. 220 in Ridgeway. She was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Virginia State Police.
Earlier that afternoon, Thomasson had dropped her father off at his job at ICF Corp. in the Patriot Centre at 4 p.m. She then visited her grandmother, Norma Jean Estep, at Stanleytown Health Care, and after it closed at 8 p.m. she went to check on her infant goddaughter, Emma Elizabeth Epperly, whom she helped take care of, in the Grassy Creek area of Henry County, her father said.
That was a common routine for Thomasson, so it was not unusual for her to be on the road at 10 at night headed to her grandmother’s home on Church Street in Ridgeway, Lane Thomasson said. She was living in the home and caring for it while Estep is in the nursing home, he added.
Lane Thomasson said he had taught his children to avoid driving in busy intersections if possible, since accidents can occur if people run the lights. So Courtney did not turn at the light on U.S. 220 South at Virginia 87 and instead was headed for the turn lane for Church Street in Ridgeway when the accident occurred.
Officers told the family that if she had traveled 400 more yards, she would have been in that turn lane and avoided the accident, Lane Thomasson said.
Instead, her 2008 Dodge Caliber collided head-on with a 1995 Ford F-150 pickup. She was traveling south in the southbound on U.S. 220; the pickup was headed north in the southbound lane, according to the state police.
The pickup caught fire, the state police said at the time. The driver’s identity has not been released.
“It’s terrible when someone gets taken like that,” Lane Thomasson said of his daughter’s death.
Courtney Thomasson, who also is the daughter of Teresa Thomasson and the wife of Christopher Dale Holmes, went through the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training at Patrick Henry Community College, her father said.
She did an internship at Stanleytown Health Care under that program and had hoped to continue her studies at Old Dominion University, through the New College Institute, to pursue a career in social work.
She also previously worked at Bojangles in Bassett and Taco Bell in Collinsville.
But as soon as her CNA training was completed, her grandmother became ill and Courtney Thomasson became her full-time caregiver for the last 30 months, her father said.
“She attended Freedom Baptist Church and believed her purpose in life was to help those less fortunate and protect children and the elderly and lived her life by James 1:27,” he added.
That scripture states: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world,” according to online sources.
Courtney Thomasson shared her concern for others with her uncle, John Frank Thomasson, who died Dec. 23, Lane Thomasson said.
“People who put everyone else ahead of themselves seem to be taken from us,” he added.