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The motorcyclist killed in Henrico had 'a heart of gold'

Posted at 1:54 PM, Nov 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-09 13:57:19-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- "I love you, mama. Thank you for everything."

That was the text Paul King sent his mother Susan the day before he died.

King reached out to his mom after he attended a friend's funeral.

King Nguyen, 24, was killed on October 20 when his motorcycle struck a tree that had fallen across Interstate 95 in Chesterfield County.

Paul and his friends spent the hours after the funeral discussing how they would want their funerals to go should something happen to one of them.

The night after the funeral, on October 27, King and another friend set out on their motorcycles.

"It was a motorcycle ride on a beautiful evening with his best friend," Susan King said. "That's what he planned that evening."

The ride would be Paul King's last.

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"The preliminary investigation indicates an SUV was traveling west on Patterson Avenue and making a left turn onto Ridge Top Road. [King} was traveling east when the collision occurred, striking the vehicle's front end, and losing control," a Henrico Police spokesperson wrote about the crash. "[King] was ejected from the motorcycle, and the motorcycle came to a stop after crashing into a nearby fence."

Paul King, 21, was taken to the hospital where he died.

'A heart of gold'

"He had a heart of gold," Susan said about her youngest child. "He lived life to its fullest. He was 21 years old but he lived a lot. He loved adventure. He loved speed."

Paul, it seemed, had been speeding on his motorcycle the night of his crash.

Earlier witnesses called police to report motorcyclists performing wheelies along Parham Road.

When police responded, however, they did not see any violations.

Paul and his friend turned on Patterson Avenue. He crashed about two miles down the road near the intersection of Patterson and Three Chopt Road.

"He was not intentionally driving recklessly when he crashed," Susan said. "He was used to riding in Chesterfield. He was unfamiliar with the roads in Henrico."

Born and raised in Powhatan County, Paul was an introverted athlete who succeeded in whatever he put his mind to, according to his mom.

The only exception, Susan said, was school.

Her honor roll student began to lose interest in traditional learning in his middle school years.

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"He became less interested in school as the world opened up to him," she said. "He knew early on that he wanted to work on his cars."

So Paul enrolled in J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College automotive program and split time between the college courses and his high school curriculum.

He loved his college classes but believed he did not fit into high school, so he passed his GED and went to work building cars.

"Paul was a hands-on and motion learner," Susan said. "Everything about cars clicked for him."

He worked for several Richmond-area automotive shops, he was building his own brand — King Built — when he died.

"He was gifted," Susan said. "When the schools couldn't help him figure out what he wanted to do — he figured it out on his own. He was happiest working on cars."

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Paul was a loyal friend who was passionate about everything he did, his mom said.

"I don't want everyone to think every 21-year old who dies on a motorcycle is some lamebrain on drugs," Susan said. "This is not my kid."

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.