Updated: Mar 9, 2020
Early on in this series, Gene Hobbs’ autopsy was mentioned in dispelling the rumor Lisa says the Judge was spreading right after Gene’s death, stating that a heart attack had caused him to be backed over. The eyewitness clearly stated in his testimony, however, that: “They said he had a heart attack. That’s not true. He was working until he took his last breath when he was ran over.”
It was also pointed out that when the autopsy was released, it verified Gene had not had a heart attack, and that the autopsy would call into question the claims of the official report again, as this series progressed. It is now that time to revisit this report once again.
A full autopsy is a process which is unrelenting in its attention to detail, and the one performed on Gene is no exception to the rule. There is not an inch of the body, internally or externally, that is not meticulously examined, measured and documented in great detail.
It describes how many milliliters of fluid, of clotted blood and of liquid blood were found after the chest and abdominal cavity were incised and opened. What it fails to ever describe, however, is any mention of stomach contents or their measurement in the report. As one medical professional I spoke to stated, “If it’s not documented, it didn’t happen. That’s charting 101.”
The reason this sticks out, though, is because the final report by Investigator Morley distinctly states that the Meade County Road Department crew had just returned back to work from lunch when Gene walked behind a moving dump truck that had been cleared to back up with its alarm sounding.
If he had just returned back from lunch, one would expect there would be mention of stomach contents and the measurement of how much. The report goes so far as to state there was 5 ml of bile in his gallbladder but nothing about the contents of a stomach which had supposedly just finished eating. Especially since Lisa stated before, that when she got his lunchbox back the day after Gene’s death, it was empty. Not even his afternoon snack was left.
The other fact that sticks out when reading this report is “the urinary bladder contains approximately 400 ml of urine” the day the autopsy was performed on Gene. According to Gray’s Anatomy, the gold standard among anatomical text books in the health field, the average capacity of an adult male bladder is around 400 ml, though 500 ml may be tolerated. Both a doctor and a surgical nurse have both verified not only was Gene’s bladder full at the time of his death, but he would also have had a serious urge to urinate, as soon as possible.
The road crew was working in a residential area that day, surrounded by houses. There were no portable restroom facilities on site. The only option to use a bathroom would be one of the nearby stores. Lisa and Ron Hayes both point out that this does not add up with the county’s story of what happened. If Gene had just finished lunch, there should be note of stomach contents in his abdominal cavity. With his bladder full, he would have used the bathroom on his lunch break when he had the opportunity to. As Lisa says, “Who would go back to work, knowing they had to go to the bathroom, when there was no option of doing so once they started back to work?”
When the road department supervisor was first interviewed that day by Morley, he stated he was up the road a bit, eating lunch and didn’t see what happened. When Ron Hayes with the F.I.G.H.T. project spoke with the eyewitness, he was told that the rest of the crew was standing on a hillside and appeared to be going to lunch. They could not see what happened, either, and said as much when they were interviewed at first by Morley. The witness also told Hayes that the driver was driving fast. It appeared that he saw his coworkers going to lunch and was in a hurry to join them.
Whether it is the KY State Police report or the KY OSH report, there is no documentation of anyone interviewed that day which states anything about the workers were coming back from lunch. It is only as the investigation comes to a close, months after the accident, that a narrative shows up in Morley’s report, stating the workers returned back to work after lunch, Gene tapped his rake on the dump truck driver’s window, and asked if he was ready to get back to work. All the workers said they saw nothing when initially asked. So how did Morley’s report change to include a narrative about a truck with its back up alarm sounding, which was cleared to back up, and out of nowhere Gene walked behind it in a way that the driver could not see him, costing him his life?
For Ron Hayes, along with Lisa and her family, the answer is quite clear. They say the Judge commanded the scene and the story that day, as he set in the dump truck with the driver, waiting for Morley to arrive. They say that the only person who witnessed what happened was ignored for a reason because his story goes against the narrative in the report. And they say it was clear the crew was going to lunch that day not returning back to work, but the story needed to change to offset what the witness had to say. “If he would have had a “groundman” or spotter, this would have never happened,” the witness testified. “There was no spotter present. The driver never got out of the truck to look to see if anyone was present. He just pulled up and backed up rapidly in one motion. They said the truck had a back up alarm, but I never heard an alarm. I was within 20 feet, and there was no alarm.”
Stay tuned as we continue to explore what happened that day back in 2016 when Gene Hobbs tragically lost his life.