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History of bicycling tragedies has plagued the Hedrick family

By Shelley Smith

Salisbury Post

Even as Tommy Hedrick lay in a hospital bed at Carolinas Medical Center Thursday, some people said he’s lucky — considering his family’s history.

A hit-and-run driver struck Hedrick and his red bicycle Wednesday morning at East Monroe and South Fulton streets.

About 11 years ago, a car struck and killed Hedrick’s father, Charlie, while he was riding his bike on Leonard Road.

Tommy Hedrick’s brother Ralph had a seizure while on his bicycle and died after being struck by a car, family members told the Post at the time of Charlie Hedrick’s death in 1995.

And Tommy Hedrick’s brother-in-law, Bob, was also killed while riding a bicycle.

In addition, Tommy’s sister Mary Ann was killed in a car wreck in South Carolina.

Hardware store owner Paul Bernhardt knows Tommy Hedrick and marveled Thursday at the series of tragedies that have plagued his family.

Bernhardt also knew Tommy’s father before he was killed.

Tommy Hedrick was in fair condition at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.

Salisbury Police investigators are still looking for the suspect who is possibly driving a light colored, four-door Chevrolet Malibu or other GM model car, with driver’s side damage.

Police released a picture of a car they believe is similar to the one that hit Hedrick. Anyone with information should call the department at 704-638-5333.

Tommy Hedrick, 58, and his father had red bicycles and rode them everywhere.

“Tommy was well liked,” said Bernhardt, owner of Bernhardt’s Hardware on Main Street in Salisbury. “He had a route of law officials to whom he rode around and sold almanacs. Everyone looked forward to seeing him.”

Tommy Hedrick mowed lawns across Salisbury and Spencer and pulled his lawnmower in a wagon behind his bicycle.

“He was just a little fella. He came in the store very often,” Bernhardt said. “He worked hard and always paid his bills promptly. I’ve known him for a long, long time.”

Bernhardt recalls Hedrick loving Christmas more than anything.

“He would decorate his half-mile fence with Christmas decorations,” he said.

Ernest Weant, of 200 S. Salisbury Ave., Spencer, called and offered to give Tommy his 24-speed bicycle as soon as he recovers.

“I’d be glad to give him my bicycle. I know he rides up and down the streets, and he often stops to talk to me,” Weant said.

“I’ve seen him pull a wagon and mow yards for years now,” said Weant.

Tommy Hedrick now lives at Bethamy Retirement Center of Spencer. Everyone who knows him is ready for his safe return home.

“I hope he gets back soon,” Bernhardt said.

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