By John Raby
The widow of slain Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum will participate this weekend in a memorial motorcycle ride that will pass by the parking lot where the lawman was fatally shot last month.
The Sheriff Eugene Crum Memorial Poker Run is set for Sunday afternoon starting in downtown Williamson. It’s part of the three-day Rally in the Valley motorcycle gathering that began Friday.
The procession will pass through Crum’s hometown of Taylorville. It also will head into Delbarton, where Crum once served as police chief, and Matewan, where he got his start in law enforcement as a police officer.
Organizers expect more than 200 motorcycles to participate. Leading the pack will be Rosie Crum, riding with Mingo County Magistrate Dallas Toler on his 2012 Harley Davidson.
Messages left for Rosie Crum were not returned, but Toler said she is “tickled to death” about the event.
“It’s honoring my buddy Eugene,” said Toler, who took over as magistrate last year when Crum resigned to focus on his campaign for sheriff. “They didn’t have to name this after him and make it a memorial ride. That means the world to me.”
Organizer Paul Price of the Sidney, Ky.-based Appalachian Brotherhood riding club said Sunday’s ride originally was scheduled to benefit the nearby Hatfield-McCoy trail system.
That all changed after Crum was fatally shot April 3.
“Eugene was a friend of the rally and instrumental in making sure that it happened last year,” Price said.
Price said all the money from the ride, which costs $15 for each motorcycle, will go to the sheriff’s department.
Toler’s wife, Dolly, recalled that she and Rosie Crum had worked in a booth at last year’s motorcycle rally campaigning for their husbands’ election. A year later, the rally has a far different meaning.
In office for three months, Eugene Crum made good on a campaign pledge to help rid the southern coalfields of the illegal prescription drug trade blamed for thousands of addictions and overdoses. Friends say he was shot to death in the spot where he parked most days, keeping an eye on a place that had been shut down for illegally dispensing prescription drugs.
The suspect, Tennis Maynard, was shot and wounded by a Mingo County deputy in a chase following the attack on Crum. State Police say Maynard crashed his car into a bridge in his hometown of Delbarton, then got out and pointed a weapon at the deputy, who shot him in self-defense.
State Police have said Maynard remains at a Huntington hospital. Authorities have charged him with first-degree murder and attempted murder.
Rosie Crum was named interim sheriff the day after her husband’s death. She told Dolly Toler that “if she didn’t have to get up in the morning and come in to Williamson, she didn’t know what she’d be doing,” Dolly Toler said. “That’s her big mindset right now. It’s just pushing her.”
Getting Rosie Crum involved in the memorial ride was easy, said Dolly Toler, who insisted Rosie take her spot on the ride with Dolly’s husband.
Dallas Toller said he plans to crank up some Bob Seger music along the way. Dolly Toller said she will ride with one of her husband’s friends.
“It’s going to be a celebration,” Dolly Toler said. “When we got together with Eugene and Rosie, we always had a good time. Always.”