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'Route 29 Batman' who visited sick children killed in crash

By Andrew V. Pestano
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'Route 29 Batman' who visited sick children killed in crash
Lenny B. Robinson, known as the "Route 29 Batman," died Sunday night as the result of a vehicle collision. He was hailed for visiting children in hospitals while dressed as the superhero Batman -- gaining worldwide recognition after Maryland police pulled him over in 2012 while he was fully dressed as the Caped Crusader. Photo courtesy of Lenny B. Robinson/Facebook

HAGERSTOWN, Md., Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Lenny B. Robinson, known as the "Route 29 Batman" who visited sick children in hospitals while dressed as a superhero, died when his Batmobile struck him after a vehicle collision.

Robinson, 51, gained worldwide recognition after police pulled him over in 2012 while he was fully dressed as the Caped Crusader. He died Sunday night after an event where his custom Lamborghini, fitted to look like the Batmobile, broke down in an unlit portion of Interstate 70 near Hagerstown, Md.

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Robinson's car was stopped in the median but was still partially in the fast lane of the highway. He got out of the car to check the engine, but a Toyota Camry slammed into the Batmobile, causing it to fly into Robinson. He was declared dead at the scene.

The crash is under investigation and no charges have been filed.

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"He was my brother, my business partner, my best friend," Scott Robinson said. "He touched a lot of lives and made a lot of kids smile. That's all he wanted to do."

In 2007, Robinson sold his industrial cleaning business that he started in high school and replaced his Chrysler PT Cruiser with a Lamborghini, which he modified to look like Batman's famous Batmobile. He later bought a replica of the Batmobile from the 1960s television show starring Adam West.

In 2012, he was stopped on route 29 near Silver Spring by Montgomery County Police Department officers because of his Batman-logo license plates, which are not approved in the state.

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Instead of giving Robinson a ticket, officers asked to take a picture -- all captured on video, which earned him the moniker "Route 29 Batman."

"The footage depicted a positive and humorous interaction between officers and Robinson. It was evident that the officers and Robinson had a mutual respect for each other and the job that each was trying to accomplish that day," a statement by Montgomery County Police Department said, adding that it was "saddened" to hear the news of his death.

"Robinson was not much for attention and wanted to remain low-key as news reports of his interaction with MCP hit national and international news. When we replay the traffic-stop video, we smile and laugh, fondly remembering the day that MCP met a real superhero," the police department said.

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Robinson spent more than $25,000 every year on Batman-related items such as toys and books to give away to children. He continuously visited ill children in hospitals dressed as the Dark Knight and also worked with Hope for Henry, a D.C. organization that helps sick children.

Robinson previously said the good deeds he did were done in part as penance for a temper he had that led him to fights and trouble with the law in the past. He said he always enjoyed making children smile, especially kids fighting terminal illnesses.

"You see what's going on. It has to be moving. Sometimes you're crying on the inside, but you're strong on the outside. These are the real superheroes. It's not me; it's not you. They're fighting for their lives every single day," Robinson previously said. "Remember, at the end of the day, ask yourself, 'Self, did I make a difference?' And the answer had better be yes."

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