Capron man dies from wreck injuries

Published 8:37 am Wednesday, March 11, 2009

CAPRON—A 71-year-old Capron man who worked as a farm hand all of his life was killed in a collision over the weekend.

The accident occurred shortly before 5 p.m. Saturday in Southampton County at the intersection of U.S. Route 58 and Virginia Route 609, also known as Popes Station Road.

Virginia State Police spokeswoman Sgt. Michelle Cotten said Alfred Gray, of the 23000 block of Popes Station Road, was driving a white 1993 Chrysler New Yorker southbound on Popes Station Road.

Cotten said Gray pulled out into the westbound lanes of U.S. Route 58 and was struck on the driver’s side by a Ford van driven by James Eugene Suite, 28, of Virginia Beach. The van, which had five occupants and was towing a trailer, overturned from the crash.

Cotten said Suite would not be charged because he had the right of way. She also said Suite tried to avoid colliding with Gray. Alcohol was not a factor in the accident.

According to Cotten, Gray and three of the five people in the van were transported to Southampton Memorial Hospital for treatment. Gray died of his injuries at 7:01 p.m. at the hospital. The three van occupants did not sustain any serious injuries.

Cotten said the accident shut down westbound U.S. Route 58 from 4:57 to 6:26 p.m. She said traffic was not diverted.

Gray’s friends described him as kind and hard-working.

“He was a great man,” said Lillie Murphy of Courtland. “He loved to laugh a lot, and he liked to tell jokes. Most everybody liked him. He was a very dedicated farmer ­— that’s mostly what he did was farm.”

Mike Marks said Gray started working on the farm for his father and uncle, Bobby and Paul Marks, right out of high school. Gray then worked for him and his brother for several years.

“He was just a pleasure to be around to work with,” Marks said. “It was a priviledge for me to grow up with him, and to have him out on the farm all of my life. He was a good friend and a very loyal person. He was a good person to anyone at any age.”