GREENFIELD — A local World War II veteran, heading to help a family member, was struck and killed while walking along U.S. 40 Tuesday evening, officials said.
Ray Crickmore, 91, Greenfield, was one of the county’s oldest veterans, his friends said. He was walking along Main Street just after 6 p.m., en route to help a family member who’d been locked out of a car, when he was struck by a passing vehicle, officials said.
The accident happened in the 1200 block of West Main Street in Greenfield, records show.
Police and fire department medics who responded to the scene asked that a helicopter be called to take Crickmore to an Indianapolis trauma center.
He had suffered a head injury and was barely breathing at the time, records show.
A Greenfield Fire Territory ambulance drove Crickmore to Hancock Regional Hospital, where a medical helicopter flew him to Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital, police said.
A detailed accident report had not been released at press time. Police said the driver of the car involved was not injured in the accident. The driver’s name was not released, but police said he was not impaired at the time of the crash.
Crickmore, who joined the Navy in 1943 at the age of 17 and served as a radio operator aboard a battleship stationed in the Pacific, was one of the county’s last WWII survivors and was heavily involved with local veteran groups, said Bob Workman, a friend of Crickmore’s and the head of the county’s veteran’s affairs office.
Crickmore was a member of the Greenfield American Legion Post No. 119, the Greenfield Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2693, the Hancock County Veterans Honor Guard and the county’s 40/8 veterans’ organization.
Away from the military groups, Crickmore loved bowling and fishing, but he relied on his fellow veterans for comradery, said fellow veteran Dick Nolin.
Crickmore was a fixture at every local meeting and event, and he enjoyed visiting posts in neighboring towns looking for even more friendships and to share his war stories with all who would listen, Nolin said.
Crickmore had a great sense of humor, and even though more than 20 years separated them in age, the two were great friends, Nolin said.
“The age difference made no difference,” Nolin said. “Ray was a good ole boy.”
Local veterans’ group leaders say Crickmore never missed a chance to help the organizations further their missions.
Last year, Crickmore’s friends arranged for him to participate in an Honor Flight event, a national organization devoted to taking former soldiers, sailors and airmen to see the monuments built in Washington, D.C., and he was eager to share about his experience to spread word so other veterans could also participate.
Most recently, Crickmore was honored for his service by fellow veterans during a program marking the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor earlier this month, Workman said.
Whether it was mowing the grass on the grounds of the 40/8-owned park in rural Greenfield or turning up at community events to share tales about his service, Crickmore was as much a dedicated sailor as he was years ago, Workman said.