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Brother of cyclist in deadly Warwick crash speaks about victim

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Police identified the victim of Friday’s deadly crash as Charles Hawkins, 64, of North Providence Monday.

Recently retired, Hawkins was a former aide to both the late Senator John Chafee and former Governor Lincoln Chafee.

As police investigate what caused a driver to hit Hawkins on Route 2 in Warwick, his family is remembering who he was.

“Sometimes in life we say you have to stop and smell the roses,” said Father Bob Hawkins, Charles Hawkins’ brother. “Well, he smelled the roses all the time.”

Charlie — as Hawkins was known to family and friends — was a policy aide for both Chafee administrations, passionate about transportation and energy, according to Father Hawkins.

Hawkins said his brother was particularly proud of his work on the Kingston Train Station restoration and the Block Island Lighthouse.

Father Hawkins, who is the pastor at St. Luke’s Church in Barrington, said Charlie was modest, always behind the scenes and never considering a run for office himself.

“He wasn’t into clothes, he wasn’t into houses, he wasn’t into cars…he was into enjoying life,” Hawkins said.

Lincoln Chafee said he and his father both enjoyed working with Hawkins.

“He was an important part of Dad’s re-election team in 1988 and I know Dad valued his savvy advice in that tough campaign. Charlie was unique and special,” Chafee said.

Police said Hawkins was hit by a 23-year-old driver while walking his bike across Route 2 Friday. He was later pronounced dead at Rhode Island Hospital. Police have ruled out alcohol as a factor, but are still investigating the crash. It is unknown if charges will be filed.

Father Hawkins says biking was one of Charlie’s favorite activities, and he frequented many Rhode Island bike trails. Hawkins said his family knows Charlie died doing something he loved.

“I don’t think he would have any regrets,” Hawkins said.

Police are urging anyone with information about the crash to contact the Warwick Police Department.

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