BRODNAX, Va. (WRIC) — Residents in the tight-knit town of Brodnax are mourning the loss of their police chief, Joe Carey, after he was hit and killed by a pickup truck on Friday, Dec. 16.

Brodnax sits near Brunswick County, located on the southern edge of the state bordering North Carolina. It has a population of just fewer than 300 people. Neighbors told 8News that nearly everyone in the community knows each other. News of Carey’s death spread rapidly across the area.

Mary Edmonds, who works at the local Sunoco gas station, knew the police chief for about 12 years.

“He’s going to be missed,” Edmonds said. “When I say missed, whew, he’s going to be missed by so many.”

Nearly every day, Edmonds would wait to greet Carey with a cup of coffee and a chat.

“He made it a point to come talk to everybody,” Edmonds said. “He’d come in, we’d make sure the pot of coffee was ready for him.”

The deadly crash happened along Piney Pond Road. Carey had pulled over to the side of the road to help retrieve the remains of a dead animal. Edmonds said Carey cared deeply about his job and this type of task.

“His main love was for the animals around here,” Edmonds said. “The love that he had for people just as well as animals cost him his life.”

Carey’s death didn’t just affect the people living in Brodnax. Frank Hendrick, a resident of the neighboring town La Crosse explained how his community felt the devastating news, too.

“We would meet, and we didn’t go out together, but we knew each other,” Hendrick said. “We’d wave, it’s a small community. Everybody knows everybody.”

Edmonds told 8News she isn’t sure how she’ll ever get used to brewing a pot of coffee without Carey coming into the gas station store to chat. She said the entire community lost an irreplaceable figure — one who would go out of his way to help anyone.

“If you needed that man…he was nothing but a call away,” Edmonds said.