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Fiancée: DMV trainee died of heat stroke

Posted July 29, 2010

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— A man training for a position with the state Division of Motor Vehicles died of complications from heat stroke Wednesday, a day after he collapsed, according to his fiancée and family members.

Timothy Charles Barnes, 38, of Rocky Mount, was training to be an inspector in the DMV's License and Theft Bureau at the North Carolina Justice Academy southeast of Asheville.

He collapsed Tuesday after physical training at the Edneyville facility, the DMV said in a statement released Thursday.

Family: DMV trainee died of heat stroke Family: DMV trainee died of heat stroke

Barnes was among 13 recruits who were doing a strength and endurance test, which included sprinting, push ups, sit ups and a 1.5 mile run, said DMV spokeswoman Marge Howell. The test was done in intervals with water breaks in between, she said.

Barnes was taken to Mission Hospital in Asheville where he died. His fiancée, Vernadette Garland, said the medical examiner told the family that he suffered heat stroke, which led to kidney failure and cardiac arrest.

Garland said she saw him at the hospital and that he was able to talk with her shortly before his condition rapidly deteriorated.

"He said he was having some physical pain. He was hurting," she said."I felt like there was something serious, not deathly serious."

Barnes' father, Charlie Barnes, said he does not blame anyone for his son's death, but he does want to make sure that trainees' conditions are monitored.

"The only question I would have is: 'He didn't show any signs of exhaustion or weakening?'" Charlie Barnes said.

The DMV reviewed the bureau's training requirements and regimen and determined that the staff followed all protocol, Howell said, noting that it is the same test given to law enforcement officers. The heat index on Tuesday was 82 degrees, she added.

Barnes worked for 10 years as a sheriff's deputy in Nash County and was also a school resource office there before joining the License and Theft Bureau on May 17. He had completed a nine-week basic training program on Wednesday and was supposed to graduate the same day.

"He was a good man and, like I said before, I'm going to miss him, and I know his fellow officers are going to miss him," said Nash County Sheriff Dick Jenkins.


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  • charles2468 Jul 30, 2010

    Mr Barnes was a good man. I had him as a teacher when he taught for a short time at Beddingfield high school back in like 97 or 98. He will be missed and I send my most sincere condolences to his family and friends.

  • rixida Jul 30, 2010

    I've been through that training and its not easy. I ended up ruining my knee and had to have surgery to correct it. In my opinion, that intensity of training is not neccessary for DMV employees. It is for police but not detention or dmv.

  • VivaceConBrio Jul 30, 2010

    Tim was a good man and good friend. He surely will be missed by all! My thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

  • leo-nc Jul 30, 2010

    "uuummm....Mr. Know it all, yes they do have physical standards much like a highway patrolman, they do just about the same exercises but maybe they don't to run a mile in a certain amount of time but they have a lot of physical training so take that and stick it somewhere."---

    I agree with you on a lot of things, but this isn't true. I guarantee you that.

  • dimon Jul 30, 2010

    My condolences and prayers to the family and his Fiancee

  • davisbaby Jul 30, 2010

    As some of the previous commentors stated, it would not surprise me if he had a preexisting condition that was unknown to him and his family. May he rest in peace and God be with the family. He seemed to be a very good man.

  • VT1994Hokie Jul 30, 2010

    Sad situation. Praying for his family members and his girlfriend.

  • SouthernLady05 Jul 30, 2010

    My condolences go to his family and fellow LEO's.

    For those of you bashing the training, or saying DMV should be sued... how about we wait for all of the facts? We don't know what happened. A lot of times, trainees try and mask thier physical condition. Meaning, they don't want the instructor to see they are struggling b/c they are going out for a position, they try to show no sign of weakness... even if they are in trouble. Also, for those saying because of his age he shouldn't have been made to do it... you are wrong, he subjected himself to the training and knew full well what was involved.

    Looks to me like he was very in shape and capable, too sad he passed away. From what I've read he would have made a good cop.

  • concerned_citizens Jul 30, 2010

    Prayers are with the family.

  • hkoquinn Jul 30, 2010

    The real tragedy here is that a man lost his life. My deepest condolences go out to his family and friends.
    For those of you who feel that this is the appropriate forum and the appropriate opportunity to bash an organization or other individuals, please, save it for FACEBOOK.