Report: Richmond Gave Women Aids Virus

Posted: March 25, 1996

Beyond the grave of Tim Richmond lies a trail of pretty women, following him into the ground.

Fresh flowers rest beside the tombstone of one former lover. A second ex-girlfriend, still fighting for her life, has picked out her casket. At least two former partners are in seclusion on the East Coast, awaiting the inevitable.

And there might be more to come, according to a story published in the Miami Herald yesterday.

The Herald reported that Richmond, an auto racing star who died of AIDS seven years ago, infected numerous women with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Among them are LaGena Lookabill Greene, Richmond's former fiancee.

She went public in 1995 with the news that she was dying of AIDS and that she had been infected by Richmond, who was 34 when he died.

Panic seized women across the country when media reports leaked the cause of Richmond's death. He died in August 1989.

Greene, 35, a former model who lives in Charlotte, N.C., said she received more than two dozen calls from Richmond's former lovers.

``From those calls alone - only counting the ones from Charlotte - I could have started a support group of women exposed to HIV from Tim,'' Greene said. ``There would be about 30 in that support group. They told me they were exposed, that they had had sex with Tim and they were worried.''

There are reportedly others - friends suspect a dozen or more - who have passed on quietly.

Richmond's infectious-disease specialist, Dr. David Dodson, can only guess when his late patient might have become infected.

``Perhaps in the late '70s,'' Dodson said.

The time line is telling. Richmond, who attended a Miami prep school, could have been spreading the virus unchecked for eight years or longer.

``I did receive several calls from women around the country,'' Dodson said. Not everyone exposed has been infected.

The Richmond family says its late son was diagnosed with AIDS in December 1986. Greene says he infected her Sept. 10 of that year in a New York hotel. She believes that Richmond knew he had the virus when they made love after his marriage proposal.

``I grieved his death,'' Greene said, ``even though he knowingly planted his seed of death inside me.''

Now, life is leaking from Greene, a former North Carolina Junior Miss who said she wants a memorial service with everyone wearing white.

She has picked out a white casket. A mausoleum awaits.

Her T-cell count, which measures the strength of the immune system, has plummeted from a near-normal 965 to 14.

The Herald reported another woman, Debbie Putman, had an encounter with the racing star and died four years ago.

Putman's obituary did not disclose a cause of death. But before she died, Putman confided to her best friend, Julia Stafford: ``Do you remember me telling you about going to a party at Tim's? That's where I must have gotten AIDS, because we were together.''

In other news:

TRANSSOUTH: GORDON SQUEAKS BY Jeff Gordon continued to run well, beating runner-up Bobby Labonte to win the TransSouth Financial 400 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

It was the second straight Darlington victory for Gordon, who averaged 124.793 mph.

DURA-LUBE: LUYENDYK WINS Arie Luyendyk posted his fourth win in an Indy car, averaging 117.368 mph at the Dura-Lube 200 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Luyendyk, the most prominent driver in the new Indy Racing League, finished 8.896 seconds ahead of Scott Sharp.

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