GASTONIA, NC – A Gastonia man is fighting for his life after being struck twice by hit and run drivers. John Wayne King, known as Johnny to his friends, is still in critical condition at CMC Main. Friends say he broke both of his arms and legs and is on life support.
“I was just devastated when I found out he got hit,” says friend Carlos Jones. Jones says he was with King less than an hour before the 53-year-old man was struck crossing East Long Avenue. “I thought it was just a traffic check. And then, you know, his Nephew called me up after I got home, and told me Johnny got hit by a car. Just shocked me,” Jones says.
Friends say King was likely on the way to the store as he crossed through the intersection with Broad Street, not far from his home. They say a large, white SUV struck him, first tossing him in the air, before he got hit again by a car, possibly a Toyota. Both drivers fled the scene.
“That’s unbelievable. Everybody, does not believe, you know, can not believe nobody stopped,” says King’s former employer Randall Nichols. Nichols visited him today in the hospital. “I wanted to go check on him, see if he was responsive, where you could talk to him, but they’ve got him on so much medication he don’t even know he’s there,” he says.
Nichols says the walk was one King made every day. Friends say he’s also known for helping take care of his neighbors’ lawns. “He’s a great guy. Everybody loves him, everybody knows him. You mention Johnny King, his name is John Wayne King, that’s why everybody knowed him,” Nichols says.
Other people like Adrian Curry who walk this stretch say they hope police find who’s responsible. “If you did that, you know, (you’re) the one who did it, it only makes it right to turn yourself in,” Curry says.