Brick Township Man Killed by Fallen Tree Trunk

Brick resident passes away from injuries sustained in tree accident

A Brick resident who was the victim of a fallen tree trunk yesterday succumbed to his injuries, according to the Brick Township Police Department.

On Nov. 22, at 10:55 a.m., Brick Police responded to a home on Nejecho Drive for a 911 call. It was reported that a tree trunk at that location had fallen onto a male subject, 61 year-old Vernon Hankins.

“Officer Julian Halley was first on scene and found numerous neighbors using shovels in an attempt to dig out the subject, who was pinned under a large tree stump,” said Sgt. Keith Reinhard.

Police investigating the accident discovered that a large tree had been uprooted due to Superstorm Sandy, which left a sizable hole remaining at the base and stump of the tree. The tree was left with its roots visible and with a hole in the ground.

“Hankins apparently had been working on cutting the tree down and into pieces.  At one point, it appears he had gone into the hole at the base/stump of the tree and started cutting the roots. This caused what was left of the tree to shift its weight and fall onto him,” said Reinhard.

At that point, Hankins became trapped under the tree, with only his head and shoulders exposed.

First Aid and Fire Departments responded to the scene to assist in the rescue effort. Brick Fire Department Stations 21 and 22 used a winch and jack to pull the tree off Hankins, and he was then extricated from the hole after being trapped for just over 15 minutes. Medics and Brick Police EMT’s immediately began lifesaving efforts.

Hankins was then transported to Ocean Medical Center, where he later passed away.

Lorraine Henriques November 23, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Sincere condolescences to the Hankins family. He was such a generous soul, a wonderful teacher, excellent bb coach and terrific father. Our prayers go out to his children and wife. May he rest in peace. Damm you, Superstorm Sandy!!!! Love, The Henriques Family
Marti Schmidt November 23, 2012 at 07:01 PM
This is a very sad and tragic ending to beloved man. I did not know Mr. Hankins. However, I send my condolences to his wife and children. May The Lord give you the strength to carry on without him.
Linda Blakaitis November 23, 2012 at 07:22 PM
What a sad and tragic thing. I knew Vernon, he was a kind and generous man and often donated his time with his band playing for our charity events. Thoughts and prayers are with his family.
Tara Hudson November 23, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Vernon was our landlord and I worked with his brother Mark for 4 years.. Was such a nice guy. Vernon and his family are in our thoughts and prayers Love Tara and Matt Hudson
Kaitlin November 23, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Terrible news. He was an excellent teacher and I'm sure he will not be forgotten by the many students he taught and influenced over the years. Condolences to his family,
Karen Wall November 23, 2012 at 08:01 PM
If you would like to be interviewed for a followup story on Mr. Hankins, please email me at karenfishes66@gmail.com. Thank you
green November 23, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Very sad. Such a great man.
Pamela Molochko November 23, 2012 at 10:02 PM
So sorry to hear this. I was a student of Mr Hankins 23 years ago. He was an excellent teacher and a really nice guy. My thoughts go out to his family.
Comfortably Numb November 23, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Very sad to hear this. I was in a couple of his art classes at BTHS in the late 90's. He was an excellent teacher. I always enjoyed going to his class. RIP
Glenn Barnfield November 23, 2012 at 10:16 PM
I wish to extend my sincere condolences to the family. Vern was a good man, husband and father as well as a great teacher, wonderful friend, talented musician and artist, and extremely witty. We all will morn his passing. Miss you Vern.
kevin oconnor November 24, 2012 at 12:30 AM
I played in a band with Vernon for years, and knew and admired him since we were kids. He was always in the band that we all wanted to be in, such a great talent. I enjoyed our times onstage so much, I can't believe he's gone so suddenly. My deepest condolences to his wife and children. Kevin O'Connor ex Bay Head resident and drummer
parkway November 24, 2012 at 01:55 AM
What a terrible tragedy my prayers are with his family and friends
Kathy Bennett November 24, 2012 at 02:26 AM
I knew Vernon and his family. He was one of a kind. My daughter did field hockey. And did BB with his daughter. While I sold drinks with his in hallway. He taught me a good saying for when it was one of those days. He came in to buy lunch in the cafeteria every day. RIP thoughts and prayers with his family.
forthekids November 24, 2012 at 03:04 AM
I'm still numb to the news that Vernon has passed. He was a great man. It doesn't seem fair that this has happened. I wish I could have been there to try to help. April and kids, try to stay strong in this time of utter despair. No words can describe the feelings I have right now, we were trying to heal and he was leading us in the right direction. He was a great man who taught many many others and will be sorely missed. Please find the strength to help us through this.
Jessica Beckett November 24, 2012 at 04:26 AM
My thoughts and prayers go out to the Hankins family.
Todd Durkin November 24, 2012 at 04:29 AM
OMG. What a tragedy. Coach Hankins was my middle school and HS basketball coach. He was a friend of the family and a friend of mine. He was always a gentle spirit and friendly face around school and the Brick/Pt Pleasant/Bay Head area. Man, we will be praying for Coach and his family. Todd Durkin
Shay November 24, 2012 at 07:13 AM
I'm sitting here in disbelief ...this was my art teacher all through my high school years. He was such a laid back cool, funny and inspiring guy. He taught me many technics and gave me a lot of confidence. I loved to draw and his classes made my years in high school less stressful. Thank you Mr. Hankins for being such a great teacher. My prayers go out to his family and the neiborhood whom tried to help.
Terrence Brown November 24, 2012 at 05:35 PM
I will greatly miss Vern as a friend and collegue. We shared many a joke at BTHS. My parents were close friends with his since their days at Point Beach HS in the 1940's. He was truly an allround great guy. :(
Maryjane Tutzauer November 24, 2012 at 07:30 PM
An awesome teacher and a great friend to my father and many others, you will be greatly missed Mr. Hankins. Sincere condolences to the family of this wonderful man.
Leave it on the Field November 24, 2012 at 08:29 PM
A heartfelt note to beautiful April, the children of Vernon Hankins, and the entire Hankins Family - Vernon honored his childhood hometown and his alma mater Point Pleasant Beach High School by the way he lived. PPBHS Alumni past-and-present are saddened by this shocking news & mourn the loss of your husband, dad, brother and friend today. This generous & talented man dedicated his life to inspiring children in the classroom where he taught them to study & leverage art to explore the world around them. A man never to waste his gifts, Vernon & some life-long buddies formed their first band @ the Jersey Shore forty-something years ago. Aside from moving fans to their feet, they donated their time & talents to charities across our region for decades. Because of who Vernon was, many honor his legacy today - "The Leader of the band is tired, and his eyes are growing old, but his blood runs through our instrument, and his songs are in our soul..." May he rest in peace.
Pioneer Hose Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary November 24, 2012 at 09:27 PM
I wish to send our condolences to his wife and children, What a Great loss at the Brick High School, My Daughters knew him and my son grew up with his, a wonderful Man. Rest in Piece.
Lisa Richardson November 25, 2012 at 10:41 PM
I am so sorry for the painful loss. My good neighbor.
Kristin November 26, 2012 at 12:08 AM
I'm am saddened to hear this. We were just in that neighborhood 2 weeks ago handing out gloves & hand warmers to the residents working hard on their homes. My deepest condolences go out to all who knew & loved him ;'g
Tom Rostron JR November 26, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Tom Rostron Co received this nomination for "RGB" from Nicole Ashley Gordon. "Hey Tom-there is a teacher at my school who lost the whole first floor of her home in brick and her and her husband were rescued by the coast guard the day of the storm. Then, on Thanksgiving her husband was cutting down a tree and the tree fell on top of him and he died. Her name is April Hankins, there was an article about it in the newspaper. I think she would be a really good candidate for your program. I can get more info on Monday about her if you want!" http://brick.patch.com/articles/brick-township-man-killed-by-fallen-tree-trunk Yesterday afternoon Tom Rostron Jr made it out to the home of April Hankins and saw first hand the devastation that this family has endured. At this time Tom Rostron Co and its employees will be replacing the entire heating and hot water heating systems in this house. The Boiler, hot water heater and all the baseboard are a complete loss.
Tom Rostron JR November 26, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Please like our Facebook page for updates. https://www.facebook.com/TomRostronCompany
Leave it on the Field November 26, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Today, Tom Rostron Jr helped us honor Vernon Hankins & we want to say, "Thank you." All Vernon's friends, neighbors, fans, fellow high school alumni from Pt. Beach, band members (past & present), as well as Brick High School colleagues, athletes & students are joined together to celebrate the creative & wonderful life of Vernon Hankins. As we work through the heartache of this tragic loss, we want to thank Tom Rostron, Jr and all the employees @ Tom Rostron Co in Manasquan for your amazing gift to Vernon's wife April and the entire Hankins Family. Your giant & humbling act of kindness in the name of Heating & Cooling represents the highest form of 'community.' We will never forget it. In the shadow of darkness, your good will is bringing light & hope not only to the Hankins family, but to so many of us who were lucky enough to be inspired by Vernon's remarkable legacy of music, art, education, athletics, humor, craftsmanship, friendship & love-of-family. A special thanks also to Nicole Ashley Gordon for contacting you in an effort to alert your company to the help Vernon's family needs. April & Vernon both became teachers & dedicated most of their adult lives to kids. Tom Rostron Co could not have selected a better man or more caring family to assist. With respect & gratitude to everyone in your company from all of us who will mourn Vernon's passing today & always, thank you again.
MARIA ORMSBY November 26, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Leave it on the Field November 27, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Thank you, Bricktown. Vernon Hankin's childhood friends from Pt. Beach were moved by your incredible community yesterday. Close to 2,000 people lined up in the cold @ Vern's wake to say "goodbye" between the two sessions. What a tribute to this wonderful man. The outpouring of love & support for his family says a lot about this dad, husband, brother, neighbor, teacher, coach, artist and leader of 'our' band. May Vern's wife April & their children find strength in the powerful embrace of the Bricktown community he loved & served for over 33 years. Wishing the Hankins Family & all of you peace @ today's memorial service.
Josh M December 01, 2012 at 09:40 PM
There is a benefit thats taking place for mr. Hankins and his family on Tuesday December 4th from 6-10PM at Mantaloking Road Pub off Mantaloking Rd in Bricktown. All are welcome to attend and support. There will be a $10 minimum for entry but you can donate as much as you'd like. Thanks and hope to see you there.
Leave it on the Field December 02, 2012 at 03:24 AM
Thanks for the benefit info Josh M. We are already so grateful to the Mantoloking Road Pub & its employees who helped all of us after Vern's wonderful memorial service on Tuesday @ Visitation Church. I'm asking friends to announce this event on their Facebook Pages. We will do what we can. But please know - there are no words for acts of kindness like this. Friends who loved Vern & fans who loved Vern's music dating back to the olden 'Days' are grateful to all of you. Thank you so much.


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