Batman has died.
Lenny B. Robinson, who became a viral sensation three years ago when he was pulled over in full costume driving a custom black "Batmobile" Lamborghini on the way to visit sick children in a hospital, was killed Sunday night returning to his home in Maryland. He was 51.
Robinson (pictured) became an internet celebrity in March 2012 when Montgomery County, Md. Police posted video of a traffic stop in which Robinson emerged from his Batmobile in full costume. (Police pulled him over because the Batmobile wasn't displaying its proper license plate; it was in the car.) Video of the stop went viral, and the story of Robinson unfolded quickly.
Robinson was a successful businessman in the Baltimore area who made a lot of money selling a commercial cleaning business he'd started as a teenager. With his wealth, he indulged his desire to buy a custom Batman costume and trick out a matching car. He used both for good, and since 2001 had been visiting children at hospitals all over Maryland and Washington D.C. to give them toys, memorabilia and a memorable encounter with a superhero.
The Washington Post reported that Robinson was returning to his home Sunday night on I-70 in Hagerstown, Md., when the Batmobile malfunctioned. Maryland State Police said he had pulled over with the Batmobile partially in the fast lane of the highway. As he stood in front of it to check the engine, the Batmobile was struck by another car; the Batmobile then struck Robinson.
He was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the other car was uninjured. No charges have been filed though the crash still is being investigated. The Post reported that Robinson had just met a family at a gas station and gave memorabilia to some children; it isn't known if he was in costume at the time of the accident.
Robinson also had gotten a replica of the 1960s TV series' Batmobile after the 2012 stop. His Facebook page shows him gassing it up in Kanawha City, W.V. on Friday, but it wasn't clear if if this or the black Lamborghini was the vehicle involved in the crash.
Robinson was president of Superheroes For Kids, his hospital philanthropy which went nationwide after his 2012 traffic stop charmed the internet. According to a biography on its website, Robinson had three children.
The original video of the traffic stop, which occurred March 21, 2012 in Silver Spring, Md. is below.