Accidents Still Happen and People Still Care

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SUV that rolled over numerous time this morning on the Courtney Campbell
SUV that rolled over numerous times this morning on the Courtney Campbell

Accidents Still Happen and People Still Care

Posted January 9, 2015 – 4:30PM

Derrick grew up riding motorcycles most of his life and has early memories of riding both Dirt Bikes and BMX Bikes. Like so many other motorcyclists, he says that Florida is just a great place to ride due to the great weather we have year-round. In the past, he also found himself financially unable to own a car despite working 4-5 jobs just to make ends meet.

On Friday, January 9, 2015, Derrick’s day began just like every other as he got on his Suzuki motorcycle for his daily commute to work across the Courtney Campbell Causeway. It was just prior to 7 AM as he headed eastbound toward Tampa as the sun struggled to rise above the horizon.

Derrick was almost halfway across the bridge approaching Hillsborough County traveling in the outside lane when the SUV next to him began to make a lane change. He accelerated and honked his horn believing that a collision was imminent. The female driver the SUV both heard and saw Derrick just prior to the anticipated impact. She immediately and aggressively turned the steering wheel to the left causing her vehicle to travel out of control rolling as many as 6 times. Derrick watched as the vehicle rolled and eventually came to rest upright across the lanes of traffic. He stopped his bike, threw down his helmet, and ran over to the badly damaged SUV seeing the driver slouched in her seat. He said, “I began to shed a tear as I knew the driver got killed.” The driver side door of the vehicle would not open so he jumped in the rear seat and began to utilize his past medical training.

Once in the back of the SUV he began to support her neck while many bystanders placed calls to 911. While holding her neck stable and awaiting arrival of fire rescue crews, the two engaged in a conversation, The woman realized that Derrick was the motorcyclist that she nearly struck and began to apologize for what occurred. According to Derrick, the woman said, “Better me than you” and explained that due to being in the SUV (“more covered”) she had a better chance of survival. This resulted in her decision to avoid the collision at all costs knowing that she may have been seriously injured or killed.

The woman was extricated from the vehicle by crews from Clearwater Fire & Rescue with the assistance of Tampa Fire Rescue, Clearwater Police and Sunstar Paramedics. She was transported to a local hospital where her injuries are being described as minor requiring some stitches.

Derrick writes, “I was glad to see that she was honest and took responsibility.” He tells of many things he heard at the scene with at least one person on the phone with 911 stating that he even fled the scene. Derrick worries that responsible motorcyclists like himself get stereotyped due the number of those that are riding around in a careless and reckless manner.

All eastbound lanes of the bridge were closed while Clearwater Police investigated the crash and cleared the SUV from the roadway. While many commuters many have been inconvenienced and late to work, Derrick along with the other driver will remember this January morning for the rest of their lives. To them, it was more than just a twitter photo from a passing motorist, an aerial shot from a traffic reporting helicopter or a Facebook post from IONTB. As for Derrick, he “is just very happy to be alive!” He has never been involved in a motorcycle crash in the past and believes that this was just an very unfortunate accident. Despite his brush with death, Derrick will continue to ride his bike in a responsible manner like so many others on these dangerous roads of Pinellas County.

This is just a reminder that motorcycles can easily be hidden in traffic so “Look Twice. Save a Life.”

Accidents Still Happen and People Still Care.

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