Army war hero dies after helping stranded driver

Vehicle fell on him while he was changing tire

By Lauren M. Johnson, CNN
US Army Fort Lee

Col. Gregory Townsend was helping a stranger with car trouble on Route 460 in Virginia when the vehicle fell on him. Townsend later died at the hospital.

(CNN) - Col. Gregory Townsend stopped on Route 460 in Virginia to help a stranger change a tire. His act of kindness cost him his life.

Townsend, 46, died April 22 from injuries sustained in an accident that day.

"As he finished changing the tire, the vehicle fell on him," Fort Lee spokesperson Dani Johnson told CNN affiliate WTVR about the Friday incident. Townsend was flown to VCU Critical Care Hospital in Richmond, where he received treatment until his death, Johnson said.

Townsend, commander of the 23rd Quartermaster Brigade at the US Army Quartermaster School, was in the Army for almost 23 years and had been deployed three times.

He joined the Army in 1996 after graduating from Auburn University in his home state of Alabama. Townsend served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan before settling into life at Fort Lee near Petersburg, Virginia, in 2017 to assume command of the brigade.

"The loss of Col. Greg Townsend is devastating for his family and the Army," Brig. Gen. Douglas M. McBride Jr., 55th Quartermaster General and commandant of the Quartermaster School, told WTVR.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Greg's family and friends during this very difficult time. His legacy as a servant leader will live on in the hearts and minds of all Soldiers that he has served with and led."

Townsend received 28 awards during his service in the military, including three Bronze Star Medals and the National Defense Service Medal.

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