ALTAVISTA, Va. (WFXR) — A 71-year-old man — whose disappearance in Altavista on Tuesday sparked a massive search effort by authorities, first responders, and community members — was airlifted to the hospital overnight after he reportedly crashed his bike.
The Altavista Police Department says authorities were notified in the evening hours of Tuesday, June 21 that Donald Gary Wilkerson was missing.
According to police, “Coach Wilkerson, an avid biker and well known in the community,” was last seen in the Bedford Avenue area of Altavista Tuesday afternoon.
Altavista police officers — along with members of the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police, the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office, the Altavista Fire Company, the Evington Fire Department, the Concord Fire Department, and the community — coordinated a search around the area where Wilkerson frequently spent time.
Then, just after 11:30 p.m., the department says Wilkerson was discovered at the bottom of a steep embankment near his home, where he had apparently wrecked his bike.
Volunteers stabilized the man until medical personnel could remove him from the embankment. Campbell County EMS then brought Wilkerson to a designated landing zone so LifeGuard 10 could fly him to Roanoke Memorial Hospital, officials say.
There is no word on Wilkerson’s condition at this time.
Altavista Police Chief Thomas Merricks thanked all of the law enforcement, fire and EMS crews, and residents who turned out and worked together on this successful search effort.
“This is a prime example of our community coming together to assist someone in need,” Merricks said in a statement overnight. “This is one of the many things that make our community such a great place to live and work.”