Witness recalls tragic motorcycle accident - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Witness recalls tragic motorcycle accident

A police officer takes pictures of the accident scene. A police officer takes pictures of the accident scene.
The SUV that was involved in the accident. The SUV that was involved in the accident.
Police reconstruct the accident. Police reconstruct the accident.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A man who rushed to help in a deadly motorcycle crash spoke about what he saw Thursday in the Highlands. The victim who died has been identified as Donald Wallace, 37, of Louisville.

It was like any other Thursday afternoon for Gerald Atherton, owner of the Automotive Werkshop on Barret Avenue. Atherton was helping a customer outside when he heard a motorcycle followed by a loud bang.

"Then I saw, I turned in time to see his head with a helmet, collide with the windshield and he did a complete flip in the air and landed in the middle of the street," Atherton said.

Atherton and a friend rushed to help the motorcyclist.

"The gentlemen, his friend that was riding with him said, well, we were...'this is our last ride and we were going to sell the bikes,'" said Atherton.

Police said they believed Wallace was pulling out of an auto-shop and hit an SUV at Highland and Barret Avenues.

[Related story: Victim of motorcycle accident identified]

"The SUV pulled out in front of him and he didn't have time to stop," Atherton said. "It was instantaneous."

The SUV driver was not hurt, but Wallace went to the hospital with serious injuries, where he died.

"I feel for his friends," Atherton said. "And his family and my prayers go out for him."

If it seems like there are more motorcycle crashes lately, you are right. According to Louisville Metro Police, there have been 16 deadly motorcycle accidents since January 1. That is three times as many in the same time period last year. There were 190 motorcycle accidents with injuries since January 1 of this year. That is up from 158 in the same span last year.

"There's many causation's we believe for that," Lieutenant Joe Seely, Traffic Commander of LMPD said. "Gas prices are obviously a little more. The economy. I think plays a factor in that. Motorcycles are cheaper to drive. Weather."

Authorities said Wallace was wearing a helmet.

"Definitely recommend clothing that's fluorescent if you will," Lt. Seelye said. "Maybe a backpack or at least some striping around the back of your motorcycle or even in the front. Wear that helmet."

Thursday's deadly crash is a tragic reminder for Atherton.

"You never know when you're going to go, so you have to enjoy life every day that you have it," he said.

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