Family of Hopewell soldier after fatal crash: 'My heart is breaking'

Family of Hopewell soldier after fatal crash: 'My heart is breaking'
Dennis Painter
Dennis Painter (Source: Family)
Dennis Painter (Source: Family)

CHESTER, VA (WWBT) - Virginia State Police say one man is dead and another is behind bars after two motorcycles crashed while speeding on southbound I-295 in Chester late Tuesday.

Police say Dennis Painter of Hopewell hit the guardrail on I-295 and fell off onto Route 10. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police say Painter was wearing a helmet, but it was not approved by the Department of Transportation.

Painter's family is mourning the loss of the 44-year-old husband and father of two children, reflecting on the man's life and his dedicated service to the military.

"It seriously feels like my heart is breaking," said Painter's niece Kayla-Mae Conley. "They don't know how good of a guy he was. They are just assuming another person was out on the roads putting their life in danger. It just sucks that that's the way he had to go."

Kayla-Mae says Painter has served his country in the military for as long as she can remember.

"He's been in there for I think 24 years," said Conley. He definitely wasn't irresponsible."

Kayla-Mae said Painter's children, who are 19 and 20, are taking it all especially hard.

"Keep us in your thoughts and prayers," said Kayla-Mae "That's all we need right now. Thank you so much."

Virginia State Police say another man, Jeremiah Tomlin, is behind bars after the two motorcycles crashed. Tomlin lost control of his motorcycle, fell off and ended up in the road.

Tomlin was charged with a DUI and is being held at the Chesterfield County Jail without bond.

Police are continuing their investigation into the deadly crash.

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