The Reality: Fatality and Motorcycling

Outer Banks Spring Trip 2009

Thank you to everyone who has been concerned about Diana, myself, the Fortner family and First State HOG. I have received many e-mails and phone calls from people representing HOG chapters and individuals who have offered support and caring through messages of hope and prayer.

Two weeks ago today a terrible thing happened and we are still dealing with it and still grieving. Diana and I lost one of our best friends in an accident caused by a reckless driver. Unlike most incidents of motorcycle fatality that we have heard or read about, we were actually there and felt helpless as we waited for emergency workers to arrive on the scene.

We were on a trip to the Outer banks of North Carolina for OBX Bike Week. We had a group of twenty or so motorcyclists excited about a three day excursion on a sunny weekend. The group was very diverse. Some riders were young men on their first motorcycle trip, others were veteran riders who have taken trips across the country and back. It was Diana’s first motorcycle trip riding her own motorcycle. The sun was shining and we were traveling down Rt 13 South approaching the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel with grins on our faces from ear to ear. We were in our glory. Then in a split second lives changed forever!

A women named Dawn Marie Williams of Cape Charles, VA drove a red Ford Taurus straight through our pack of 20 Harley-Davidson motorcycles killing our very dear friend Karen and injuring two young men, one was her son. Dawn came out from a gravel driveway on the right side of route 13 and darted almost straight across to the turn lane without hesitation or looking to check if traffic was coming. She is being charged with vehicular manslaughter and if her blood test comes back positive she will be charged with vehicular homicide.

Dream as if you will live forever… Live as if you will die tomorrow.

James Dean

Riding motorcycles is dangerous, we all know it. It’s a rush and we are proud to spit in the eye of convention knowing that we are living life as an adventure and sneering at the cowards who play life safe. Everyday is a gift and we should continue to live life to the fullest, unfortunately there is a reality to living on the edge. This is the reality.

There was nothing we could do differently to avoid the unthinkable. This was totally outside our control. We couldn’t stop Dawn Marie from killing our friend anymore then we could stop the attacks on 911. None the less, we are heart broken and miss her immensely.

We will not forget Karen; her spirit was bigger than life. She touched and inspired hundreds of people. We will honor her by continuing to live life to the fullest, riding our motorcycles, making other people laugh and smile… and giving those who need a hug a hug before they even know they need it.