Man had been hit by car before

In 2011, put him in coma; this time, killed him
May. 25, 2014 @ 08:23 AM

Just like in 2011, Gary Von Lunsford never saw the car that hit him.

And just like in 2011, the driver didn't see Lunsford because he was walking along U.S. 321-A at night wearing dark clothing.

Unlike 2011, Lunsford, 52, died from his injuries.

About 8 p.m. Lunsford had left the mobile home that he and his wife, Catherine, shared on Rual Drive in Sawmills and walked where she worked, P D Grocery on Sawmills School Road, to visit her, Catherine Lunsford said. He left the store around 9 p.m.

He was walking south along the southbound lane of U.S. 321-A, only about a quarter-mile from home, when a 2014 Nissan car driven by Catherine Thompson, 43, of Burns Road in Granite Fallsl, hit him from behind.

Catherine Lunsford got off work about 9:30 and was driving south on U.S. 321-A when she saw emergency vehicles blocking the highway.

"I had a hunch it was him," she said Friday. "He was still alive when I got there, and an ambulance was taking him. But then it came back. I knew then he had died."

Thompson was not charged, the Highway Patrol said.

In June 2011, Lunsford was walking home on the same stretch of road when he was struck by a Ford Bronco. Lunsford was wearing dark clothing and was listening to a Sony Walkman through a pair of headphones. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and spent the next two weeks at Carolinas Medical Center in a medically induced coma, and another four weeks recovering.

Lunsford eventually mostly recovered from the injuries but never was able to work again, Catherine Lunsford said. He walked everywhere because of two driving while impaired convictions, in 2010 and 2012.

"He got the last one on a moped, so I got rid of it," she said.

Catherine Lunsford knew her husband was no angel, but she saw another side of the man she loved and had known for the past 20 years.

"He was a good-hearted person," she said.