A Birmingham family is reeling after two separate weekend incidents left three of their loved ones with severe injuries on the same hospital floor, and it was days before they even knew it.
Perry Rudolph, 41, was hurt in a hit-and-run crash Friday night when he rode his bicycle to the store to get some snacks for his 4-year-old granddaughter. While he was hospitalized - with nobody knowing where he was because he wasn't carrying identification - his mother and grandmother were critically injured in a Saturday afternoon house fire.
"It's been hard,'' said Ashanti Clifton, Rudolph's stepdaughter.
Clifton said her stepfather was keeping her 4-year-old son while she was in the hospital with her 4-year-old daughter. They are twins. When her daughter was released Friday, she went and picked up her son. Afterward, she said, Rudolph left his Brussels Circle home on his bicycle to go to the store to get some snacks for his granddaughter, but he never returned.
They searched but to no avail. On Saturday afternoon, his absence became more dire when family tried to reach him about a house fire at his mother and grandmother's north Birmingham home. Birmingham Fire and Rescue got the call about a house fire in the 3400 block of 31st Street North around 2:37 p.m.
Upon arrival, authorities said, firefighters discovered two women - Geraldine Rudolph and her daughter Pamela Thomas - were trapped in the house. Both were rescued and taken to UAB Hospital with life-threatening burns. They remain hospitalized in the Trauma and Burn Intensive Care Unit. Thomas is listed in critical condition. A condition for Rudolph wasn't available from hospital officials but family said she is responsive. "She is responding to me,'' said Rudolph's wife, Keron Clifton. "She was batting her eyes. But they are both in horrible shape."
Perry Rudolph remained hospitalized all weekend under the alias of John Doe. He has two broken legs, a broken pelvis, a broken ankle, a concussion and bleeding on his brain. He has already undergone surgery, and faces more.
Ashanti Clifton said police on Monday were able to use fingerprints to identify Perry Rudolph, and then contacted his sister. When they told her where he was, she said, "My mom and grandmother are already in that hospital.''
"They'd been looking for him to try to tell him what was going on and he was already up there in the hospital,'' she said. "He beat them there."
Ashanti Clifton posted about the hit-and-run on Facebook Monday, and received word from a woman who said she witnessed the crash. She said it happened on Georgia Road and she was right behind the car that hit Rudolph. "A young lady said the car in front of her hit him. He flew up and hit the street sign and then hit the ground,'' she said. "I asked her did she see the car and she thought it was red but that's all. She said the car pulled over and then pulled off."
Efforts to obtain additional information about the crash from Birmingham police weren't immediately successful. Family members said they went back out to the scene of the crash Monday and retrieved some car parts they believe belong to the suspect, and a sock belonging to their loved one.
Perry Rudolph doesn't remember the crash. Family members pray that someone will come forward with information.
"Please if you can think back to Friday night, and please call,'' Keron Clifton said. "We want to know who did this. He's in bad shape. How can you leave someone like that? What if it was your family?"
Anyone with information is asked to call police or Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777....Read more