Alex McLaughlin lives with his wife
Mary Jo and two dogs Eddie and Zazu near Charleston, West Virginia.
Rich Hughes a friend of Alex's has called Eddie, an English
pointer. a genius dog because Eddie reminds him of another genius
dog that Rick knows. After some questioning Rick remembered that
the genius dog was a poodle. Alex has never been able to make the
connection between the poodle and the English pointer. But then
maybe Rick is a genius man.
In February 11th in the year 2011
Alex decided to shake off the doldrums of the winter and start
training for his distance race. At the time he didn't pay much
attention to the fact that he had told Rick, his long time running
opponent, that he would be training that afternoon. Later events
would prove that he should have been much more concerned about this
He parked at his usual spot and began
his slow jog. He moved in a northwardly direction towards Quarrier
Street. Alex noticed a large man in a running outfit with a hood.
The person looked somewhat familiar but again Alex did not pay close
attention as he was to later regret. He moved to the sidewalk on
Quarrier Street He ran approximately 70 yards when he hit the
pavement, stopping his fall by hitting on his cheekbone, scratching
the lens of his glasses and scratching his Wal Mart stop watch. He
regained his balance and noticed that the sidewalk where he fell had
broken pavement with a difference of more than one inch from one
section of the sidewalk to the other. He thought that this must have
been what caused the fall. At the same time out of the corner of his
eye he saw the hooded man fade into the background.
Alex got into his vehicle and drove
to the emergency room of Charleston General Hospital. Miraculously,
while he looked like a zombie with blood streaming from his face and
hands, there were no serious injuries. A CT scan found nothing in
his head, A joke. As he was leaving, he asked the doctor, "Doc is
there a chance that I was pushed from behind." The doctor replied,
"It is possible but we don't have evidence either way."
He thought nothing more of the
incident until he was speaking with Hughes on the phone. Rick asked
if he would be all right. Alex indicated that he would and Rick then
asked, "Surely you will not be able to train any more this year?"
When Alex surprisingly said, "I will. In fact I will begin training
again next week" Rick was in shock he said, "That can't be." Alex's
suspicion was aroused that maybe there was something more to the
accident than just broken pavement. He went to the Charleston police
and asked them to investigate a potential crime. The policeman just
laughed and said "Buddy you got into a street fight with a street
and lost. It's five o'clock somewhere. We have real crimes to
Alex was forced to call on his old
law enforcement buddy Roger Bowyer a.k.a "ROG”. Rog began his
investigation by interviewing Rick Hughes. Rog said "Hi Rick" and
Rick suspiciously responded "On January 11th between 1 and 2 pm I
was at a party with my wife." Rog then asked if in the past he had
ever intervened in Alex's training. Rick replied that "I tried to
trip him in a couple of races but I have never had any intention of
harming him permanently. Just eliminating him from a race. Al has
been no better. He has misled me on the starting time and location
of races and has tied my shoestrings together. I am just defending
Rog returned to Charleston and
convinced Alex that they needed to go to the police department and
watch tapes of the security cameras at the crime scene. After
reviewing the tapes for hours, Alex's stood up and told Rog "Back up
the tape, slow it down and blowup the image of the man in the hood."
Rog did it and Alex fell back and said "I know this man ". Rog "All
right who is it?" Alex said "Allan Galloway who lives in Charleston
now and the sweat suit has a logo of Hughes Financial of Defiance
Rog and Alex drove post haste to
Allan's apartment. They confronted Allan with the tapes. Rog said
"Allan what do you have to say for yourself?" Allan said, “That is
me and I was there when Alex got hurt. Rick and I decided years ago
that I had to watch over him and make sure that there he would not
run into a path of cars" Rick always said "Al is my best friend I
may trip him at the race but no one else will lay a hand on him".
Allan continued,” I went out ahead of Alex to make sure there were
no cars. When I came back and saw that he wasn't seriously hurt. I
called Rick." Rick said" If he is okay, don't intervene. I want him
to think he is doing this on his own."
Suddenly Alex jumped up and said, "I
have to go guys. I told somebody to prepare some medicine that would
make Rick too sick to train and then put it in his food. I need to
get the guy stopped." He ran outside and got on his cell phone.
Rog asked Allan, "Did you see anybody
else that day?" Allan said, “Yes as I walked back towards Alex there
was an older fellow coming towards me.” Rog asked," Could you
describe him?" He was a balding man with a timeless aura about him
almost as if he was a time traveler. And there was the hat and
coat." Rog asked, "The Man wore a hat and coat?” Allan said, “No. As
he walked by he kept repeating "Hat and coat", "Hat and coat".