By Preston Knight - firstname.lastname@example.org
MT. JACKSON -- A local family was still clinging to hope Friday that, for the second time in two years, one of its members would not be lost because of suspected criminal wrongdoing.
E.J. Stanley, 23, who was struck by a Ford Ranger pickup early Monday morning, remained in critical condition and in a medically induced coma Friday afternoon at the University of Virginia Medical Center, said Josh Stanley, an older brother. Josh Stanley said nothing had changed since he last spoke of his brother's condition on Wednesday, when he advised that his sibling had multiple skull fractures, a broken hip and other injuries.
According to the Mt. Jackson Police Department, a verbal altercation escalated along Hopewell Avenue on Monday and several people left the scene in the truck, which hit E.J. Stanley. Westley Wayne Strosnider, 22, of 509 Indian Camp Trail, Maurertown, has been charged with felony hit-and-run and is free on bond. He admitted to driving the truck, a complaint states.
The incident remains under investigation, Police Chief Rick Hassler said Friday. He would not disclose details of the incident, but Josh Stanley said four people were involved, and they instigated the situation.
Regardless of the specifics, what happened is barely two years removed from the Stanley family's last tragedy. In the summer of 2008, Dustin Stanley, also 23, was shot in the back five times by his girlfriend, Donna Jean Reedy Hockman, in Lacey Springs. She is now spending life in prison, plus three years, for first-degree murder and using a firearm during the commission of murder.
"It's real rough," Josh Stanley said. "Mom's a wreck. We're hoping that it'll change in the next couple of days. ... I've got faith."
E.J. Stanley is the youngest of four brothers, and during a week of emotional testimony for the family at Hockman's trial, he stated that he could not explain the way he felt about Dustin Stanley's death.
Josh Stanley said his brother lives on Hopewell Avenue and the incident occurred just 20 feet from his driveway. Like Dustin Stanley, who had four children at the time of his death, E.J. Stanley is a father. He has two boys, a 4-year-old and an 8-month-old.
"Regardless of what took place, the fact of the matter is, if they hadn't gotten into a truck and started an altercation, this would have never happened," Josh Stanley said. "It's not like they were going over there to say, 'Hi.' ... Even if they never got out of the truck, they still fulfilled their intentions. He's still hurt."