PULASKI, Va. – Shattered glass, broken plastic and a growing memorial now sit off Route 11 in Pulaski County.
It’s where 10-year-old Kaden Duncan had to say goodbye to an old friend, Sgt. Perry Hodge.
“Me and him were very close together. And I knew him for a long time, like my whole life,” said Kaden.
The boy laid flowers near where Hodge, a sergeant with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, took his final breaths.
Hodge, 49, was killed in a head-on car crash Thursday at about 4 a.m. along Route 11, north of Dublin and about a mile south of Route 1170, according to Virginia State Police.
Police said a 2011 Chevrolet 1500 pick-up truck was going south on Route 11 when it crossed the centerline and collided head-on with a 1998 Ford F-150 pick-up truck going north.
Hodge was driving the F-150 and died at the scene, according to police.
Kaden’s mom, who also works for the Sheriff’s Office, answered the 911 call.
“My mom, she is a 911 dispatcher and she took the call. And she told me about it this morning,” said Kaden.
He’s a 5th grader at Riverlawn Elementary, where Hodge worked as a school resource officer. Those who knew him said Hodge was always smiling.
Kaden said he’ll miss seeing Hodge, “waiving at us every morning. And him getting out of the car, getting me out of my car every morning.”
In a statement to 10 News, Pulaski County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kevin Siers wrote:
“We are currently at the school and have made additional counselors available for students and staff. Sergeant Hodge was an excellent school resource officer and his loss leaves a huge void in our schools and the Pulaski County community as a whole. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, co-workers and everyone else who has been impacted by this tragedy.”Pulaski County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kevin Siers
Kaden said he’ll remember Hodge for the good times.
“He’d give me a sticker every now and then. And give me a high-five walking down the hallway,” said Kaden.
And he wants others to do the same.
“I just hope y’all remember him as a really good person,” said Kaden.
The Sheriff’s Office released this statement Thursday morning:
Sergeant Hodge was a very dedicated public servant with over 15 years of loyal service to the citizens of Pulaski County. He was currently serving as the Sergeant over our School Resource Officers. During his time helping watch over all our babies, Sergeant Hodge was passionate about their safety and making sure all the kids felt loved and cared for. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.Pulaski County Sheriff's Office
Charges are pending against the driver of the Chevrolet, Michael Morris, 26, of Pulaski, who was taken to a hospital to be treated for serious injuries, according to police.
Police said neither driver was searing a seat belt.
The crash remains under investigation.