Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Motorcycle Accident in Frederick on US340

I’ve been following the news of a recent motorcycle accident that occurred on a highway here in Frederick County on Sunday. Oddly enough, most of the information I learned was from the forum on the Frederick News Post website.

Here is the most credible eyewitness account (spelling mistakes and all):

Eyewitness account. Due to the fatality of the accident this is what allegedly happened as we saw it yesterday.

This was an extreme example of foolishness witnessed by children. My youngest loves motorcyles and always points them out anywhere he sees them

We were traveling west in the right lane on 340 at approx 60-65mph. Approx 1.5 miles before Mt Zion road we were passed on the left by a Mitsubishi SUV. Literally dangling out of the front passenger window was a white male with half his body, one leg and arm outside the window (straddling it). The SUV was probably going at a speed of 70-75 mph. He held a video camera in his free hand (not a camcorder sized one but a larger one with a big lens.)

As we looked back to see what was going on we saw two motorcyles coming up from behind. The SUV sped up and the two motorcycles passed us (first a black one and then a whiteish with a colored stripe one). As they passed by us we noticed the drivers were NAKED from the waist down. As they continued ahead they moved into the right lane in front of us, for about the next mile or so both motorcyclists were popping wheelies and trying to half stand on their seats (my kids were commenting at how gross it was since they had no pants on). During this whole time the Camera Guy was hanging out the window filming the whole thing.

This erratic behavior by the camera vehicle and the motorcyclists caused other drivers to have to brake and slow down as they changed lanes when they needed a better shot. There was another sedan with about 2-3 passsengers in it that must have been a part of the group because they passed on the right shoulder to catch up to the mototcyclists.

Shortly after I explained to my kids how dangerous their behaviour was, the black motorcyclist popped a wheelie and lost control of the bike, we could see the flatbed tow truck up ahead approx a half mile past Mt Zion road on the right shoulder. At that moment it was surreal, his bike was shaking back and forth looking like it was about to go down and then in an instant he slammed directly into the back of the tow truck in which pieces of the bike were strewn everywhere. He had to have been killed instantly . His bike went under the truck by the back left tire and his limp naked body lay there motionless. I was surprised that he didn't get decapitated.

Meanwhile, the other cyclist with no pants pulled over in front of the tow truck. The SUV went up ahead and turned around in the emergency turnaround and then came and parked in the grassy median near the accident scene. Two white females and two white males exited the SUV. One of the males walked over said a few words and gave the other motorcyclist his pants, the two girls were visibly shaken and upset. The other male had the Camera and began filming the guy laying on the ground apparently dead ( I guess he thought the guy was going to survive). It should have seemed obvious though by speed he was traveling and the force of impact and the unnatural body position that it wouldn't be the case. They all then got back in the Mitsubishi and fled the scene and exited on Mt Zion road.

When paramedics showed up, they checked for vital signs and covered the body with a white sheet. The sheriffs department arrived next followed by the state police who obtained witness statements. Traffic was blocked in both directions for a long time as they waited for the investigators to arrive.

Ok, not if you ask me, the guy got what he was asking for. The main thread in the FNP forum turned pretty ugly. There were those who thought the guy was an idiot and deserved to die, those who were really pissed that he would put others at risk with his stunts, and those that knew the guy and thought that others shouldn’t have an opinion on the matter. And then there was me, I’m kind of in the middle. While I don’t think the guy deserved to die, I do believe he got what he was asking for. The flaming started, and eventually the thread was deleted. At the time, I thought the good description of the eyewitness account was gone for good, but someone thought to save it somehow and reposted it. There was some discussion of the video tape that was destroyed and it was a bit of an argument. I believe that the tape is evidence, and that the people who destroyed it should be charged with obstruction of justice, as they were. Others were saying, hey the tape served no purpose whatsoever. The police investigate all fatal accidents, even if its obvious. As good as the eyewitness account was, the video is obviously a better tool for an investigation. There was a lot of discussion on why the thread was deleted by the moderator, they don’t cite a reason, it is just gone. I started another thread on penalties for motorcycle stunts, since these kids and young men think they aren’t going to die, death isn’t a very good deterrent. I made some suggestions and got some great responses.



SO_I_Say said...

Hey Joe,
I read your blog every day :) I miss when your wife doesn't post...I love reading both of your blogs.
Anyway, I just wanted to comment on the motorcycle accident and I don't want it on the FNP site. My brother was very close to Shawn and in fact Shawn was expected at my Mom's house for dinner that night. Apparently his bike was going to be repossesed and he was taking one last wild ride. An "F-You" gesture if you will. Being a young stupid kid who often found himself in trouble I do not condone his actions and am sincerely grateful my brother and the other "circle" of kids were not with him when this happened. Perhaps he was filming to submit to that website but also it could have been taped for his last ride on a bike he had to give up. I do support the erasing of the tape ONLY because 1.things like that end up on websites and his family does not deserve that, 2. there were enough eye witnesses and no one is denying they were doing stunts and being idiots. I am also saddened that people find it necessary to post that he had been in trouble and had traffic violations. He was 21...they drink beer. It seems like that is a rite of passage for 21 year olds. Why do people find it appropriate to post ugly things about people when in fact 99% of them have done the same things but were not caught. I have a great distaste for the "they should all just die" mentality. If Shawn deserved what he got then everyone who drives crazy on a motorcycle should die too? How about "cell phone drivers"? They scare the crap out of me. Also, SUV drivers (particularily women) scare the crap out of me. I feel in danger for my life, honestly, driving my little Hyundai. The point is there are people everyday who do stupid, inconsiderate things and yet so many are spewing ugliness about a kid with a wild hair up his ass on a motorcycle. Isn't the fact that he is dead a punishment enough for the family and friends? Maybe I am old fashioned that the dead should be respected...not made saintly but quietly respected. He suffered the ultimate consequence of his actions and have deeply hurt his friends and the people who loved him but must there be an added "na-na,-na-na,boo-boo" from people? Where is the compassion? All the "my kids will never" comments...oh yeah? I doubt his parents thought 'yeah this kid is going to be an asshole...I will make sure of that.' All the talk of he was a stellar citizen, a pillar of society sarcasm bothers me. Does that mean that people can't make mistakes...especially mistakes of YOUTH? Instead I am thinking of crazy things I did as a youth and say THANK GOD! If people deserved to die simply for being an asshole we would all be dead :)

Another note, I don't believe the thread should have been deleted however the FNP cannot handle debate or even truth. I have very strong opinions on the FNP. They do not like the ugliness that exists in Frederick. Good Lord, the real estate values will go down if the truth about the serious issues facing Frederick are let out! :) As much as Frederick is changing there is still a strong hush-hush good 'ole boy system here. A rip tide is forming in Frederick and the Baltimore and FOX 5 news stations know it. They are hot onto Frederick. Too many secrets and deceptions so it is only a matter of time. I love Frederick very much but as long as we stay in denial we cannot get help. We need professional police training on gangs, drugs, and professional auto theft, to mention a few I have been aware of. Not through the Post I might add. Sweeping dirt under the carpet only creates a big lump in the carpet. That lump is getting big, and getting noticed.

So much for my 2 cents....
I do enjoy your blogs and your posts on the FNP forum.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a story. When somebody dies, everybody instantly thinks that the dead person should be respected and honored despite what he did on this earth. But the fact of the matter is that this guy did a very stupid thing that led to his death. His death should be a lesson to all the youth out there. What if he had lived but the children in the vehicle of the eyewitness had died instead? He could have hurt a lot of people and maybe he didn't deserve to die, but he did deserve all the critics making comments.
The video tape should not have been destroyed-instead it should have been handed over to the police. That is obstruction of justice and besides the video tape probably would not have been released to the media but good for investigation. Personally, I think those other people involved were scared that the tape could lead to their own arrests. And yes the other people involved could and probably will be charged with a number of crimes. It is possible that one of them could even get charged with manslaughter.

Nicole said...

I would like to first start out by saying that any time an accident happens where there is a death people are going to be sad. I know what Shaun Matlock did was reckless and irresponsible however that doesn’t mean his family and friends shouldn’t morn over his death. Several people have made comments about how the don’t feel sorry for him and we shouldn’t celebrate his life. If you had lost a son or family member or even a friend because they were being reckless would you turn your back and forget them, and not morn over their death, no you would be just as sad as we are. This situation has taught a lot of us a lesson how we all have to slow down and live life carefully. We do thank God that no one else was hurt but at the same time we are sad for the friend we did lose. How do you except us to forget our friend just because he made a mistake.

leigh said...

ya know, i grew up across the street from shaun and we were pretty good friends till high school. i'm livin out of state now so i heard about the accident on the day of his funeral. true, the 1st thing that popped into my mind was how stupid he was.. but the rest of the thoughts were sadness over his death. yeah, he made a mistake. but think of it this way.. there are tons of stunters out there that are calling him a moron when they do the same tricks all the time. i'm sure that shaun wasn't the 1st one in history to pop a wheelie. it's along the same lines as somebody criticizing a girl for getting pregnant when they have sex all the time. mistakes don't make ppl who they are, and although shaun did a very stupid thing, he doesn't deserved to be diced into little tiny pieces by ppl who are over-opinionated. i'm not saying you guys are, but there's been a lot of crap around about it.. =/