BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – He called her “granddaddy’s grandbaby,” and Taurus Lamond Hearns was always dialing up his son, Taurus, Jr., to check on her.
Last month, he called while Taurus, Jr. was in church, where he serves as an elder. His namesake ignored the call, but Taurus called again. Worried, his son answered.
But there was no emergency. His dad was just checking in on “granddaddy’s grandbaby.” He always did.
On Sunday evening, Taurus Lamond Hearns, 49, was struck by a car near Railroad Park in Birmingham, according to law enforcement and the local coroner. A local pastor administered CPR on the scene, but Hearns did not survive.
Hearns’ namesake, Taurus Jr., said the sudden loss of his father is a shock to his family.
He was working when he got a call from his uncle notifying him of the accident. His uncle had told him his father didn’t make it.
“I was just trying to wrap my mind around the fact that he’d said he didn’t make it,” Hearns said.
Hearns asked his uncle for clarification – what did he mean exactly? His uncle confirmed Hearns’ worst suspicions: his father had died.
“My dad was my protector,” Hearns said. “He was fearless. I just could never fathom anything happening to my dad.”
Hearns said he’s always pictured watching his father grow old, spending as much time as he could with his granddaughter.
Hearns, who works in pest control in Tennessee, said his father lived a difficult life, but that those circumstances didn’t prevent his dad from being a family-oriented man.
“He was a very caring person,” Hearns explained. “He was a very protective person, very strong-willed person.”
If he set his mind to a task, his son said, Taurus Hearns could accomplish anything.
Taurus had a mostly quiet and reserved personality, according to his son. He was an observer. He enjoyed watching families ride the rented scooters and bicycles in downtown Birmingham.
“And once he got to know a person and their motives, he was a very lovable person,” Hearns said.
Taurus had faced drug addiction during his life, but his son said that since he’d moved back to his hometown of Birmingham from Ohio in 2018, he’d been doing better.
“When he got to Birmingham, he was just trying to get on his feet,” Hearns said.
But on Sunday evening, the lights of the city’s rainbow bridge glowed overhead as Hearns suffered on the pavement underneath, having been struck by a vehicle that police said initially fled the scene.
Hearns’ mangled bike and, nearby, his shoes, lay in the road. Hearns lay beside it, motionless.
A local pastor stumbled on the scene and performed CPR.
It was too late.
Hearns was transported to UAB hospital and was pronounced dead at 7:45 p.m., according to the coroner.
Hearns’ son said that what happened Sunday was a tragic accident.
He said he believes, based on accounts of those on the scene, that the driver may have been speeding under the bridge. It was also dark, and Hearns said he is unsure of whether his father’s bike was lit.
In any case, Hearns said he doesn’t harbor any resentment toward the individual who struck and killed his father.
“I forgive them,” Hearns said. “I wouldn’t want their grief of knowing that they hurt someone and killed them to be maximized by me trying to seek vengeance.”
Hearns said that he hopes the individual who struck his father learns an important lesson from what happened Sunday.
“I believe this was an opportunity to show him that life is too short,” Hearns said. “And I hate that it took my dad losing his life to show him that.”
He said that while law enforcement will ultimately decide whether charges will be filed in the case, his preference is for mercy.
God, Hearns said, is the ultimate judge.
Still, Hearns has a message for the person who struck his father.
“I hope you can find some peace and justice,” Taurus Lamond Hearns, Jr. said. “I have no hatred for anybody.”