As the weather continues to warm, drivers in Springfield, Missouri and the surrounding areas can expect to see more and more motorcycles on the road. At this time of year, we would all do well to use extra caution: not only are motorcycle riders considerably harder to see than passenger vehicles, they're also considerably more vulnerable to serious injuries when auto collisions occur.
• Crash near Republic kills one, injures one
The Missouri Highway Patrol reports that 35 year-old Casey Jameson died on Saturday night after a pickup truck collided with his motorcycle. According to the crash report, Jameson ran a stop sign on Farm Road 156 near Republic and his bike was broadsided by the oncoming truck.
Jameson was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger, 34 year-old Sheila Olmstead, was seriously injured: Olmstead was taken by ambulance to Cox South in Springfield. The pickup truck driver was not injured. As required by state law, that driver was tested for alcohol, but police do not believe that drinking played a role in the crash. Neither Jameson nor Olmstead were wearing helmets.
On Friday night, Arkansas Police Chief Joe Landers suffered critical injuries in a motorcycle accident in Panama City, where he was attending a bike rally. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a drunk driver pulled out in front of Landers' Harley, and the Chief was unable to avoid a collision. The Harley struck the vehicle, and Landers was ejected over the bike's handlebars.
The at-fault driver left the scene, but was later located and arrested: 52 year-old Jimmy John Cristo is now facing multiple charges, including fleeing the scene of a critical injury accident, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Additional charges are pending. "From speaking to the trooper, the gentleman pretty much confessed to drinking, confessed to causing the accident, confessed to leaving the scene," said Sergeant Paul Pillaro.
This evening, several motorcycle groups (including Florida law enforcement representatives) have planned a ride to honor Landers, who was described as an expert rider, and who regularly rode a motorcycle for the Lowell Police Department. Landers was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, although his colleagues say he wore a helmet without exception when he was on the job. (In Florida, there is no helmet law for riders over the age of 20.)