CLEMMONS, N.C. -- Family, friends and followers of Rev. Scott Randolph Hammett Jr. are preparing to say their final goodbyes to him, as questions surrounding the circumstances of his death remain unanswered.
Hammett was the senior pastor at Clemmons First Baptist Church. His final sermon was delivered to its congregation during their Christmas Eve service. Following the service, Rev. Justin Hernandez, minister of youth at the church, says Hammett and family left to see relatives in South Carolina for the holiday.
On Thursday, Hernandez says Hammett was driving back to Clemmons to prepare for their Sunday services, accompanied by the family’s longtime dog, Sherlock. His wife and children stayed behind to spend a few more days with family in South Carolina.
Troopers say Hammett’s 2007 Honda Accord left the right side of Interstate 40 around 12:30 p.m. Thursday, hitting a light pole. Both he and Sherlock were killed.
Hernandez says troopers called him before attempting to contact Hammett’s next of kin, as they wanted his family to learn of his death face-to-face.
“Have them provide details that let you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was the friend and the pastor that you loved so dearly,” Hernandez tells FOX8.
One of the details given was that there were no skid marks at the scene of the crash.
“Which leads us to lean towards there being some sort of medical thing that could have happened even though there’s no history there with it,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez added that Hammett regularly went to the gym and was very conscious of his health. He remembered him as the “missing piece” at the church, who focused heavily on its members, many of whom are sick and elderly.
“He was routinely at hospitals, at medical clinics, visiting them,” Hernandez said.
Now, although the tragedy is yet to “fully set in,” Hernandez says his focus and the focus of church leaders has shifted to Hammett’s family and remembering him appropriately.
Hammett leaves behind his wife, Melissa, and three children.
“We’re [going to] do our best to follow the Lord’s example, but also to follow his example because he loved like we don’t often see on this earth,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez says there will be no Sunday School at the church on Sunday. Their Sunday services will go on as planned at 10:30 a.m.
“It’s [going to] be a time for us to grieve together, to get some closure, but also to celebrate what a wonderful person, what a wonderful life that he’s lived and to most importantly be there for his family,” he added.
There will be a memorial service at the church for Hammett at the church at 2 p.m. on Monday. Hammett’s funeral and burial will then take place on Wednesday in Gaffney, South Carolina.