Lee, Brian(AVGeek), Steve and I went for a ride to Death Valley. Lee and I wanted to hit Badwater and Dante's View, 2 places we didnt get to visit last week with the BMW guys.
We were on the road between Shashone and Badwater, about 25 miles from Shashone. I was in the lead with Lee a ways behind me. Brian and Steve had gotten stuck behind a car. Anyway, after I had gone through Jublee Pass and was coming down the other side I slowed to let everyone catch up. That's when I saw the cloud of dust come up from behind the rocks. I quickly turned around. By the time I got there Steve and Brian were off their bikes trying to help Lee. He was partially under the bike so Brian and I lifted it off him as gently as we could. At that time he was still breathing but unconcious. Several people stopped by to see if they could help. The biggest problem was that there was no cell service there.
Brian and Steve stayed with Lee and I headed back to Shoshone to phone for help. By the time I got to the gas station one of the people who had stopped to help us already had the local Sheriff on the line. I talked to the Sheriff and got them going to help Lee. On my way back to the scene I was passed by a Sheriff and CHP so I was hopeful that everything was going to be ok. By the time I got back to Jublee Pass Brian and Steve were performing CPR on Lee. For some reason he had stopped breathing. The two officers took over with Steve's assistance.
They called Flight for Life and the helicoptor came but after working on him for an hour they chose to stop.....
Brian and Steve both did a great job sticking by Lee and trying to help. Steve assisted in performing CPR for a long time after addtional help showed up. It was a great effort on their part.
The big question for us is trying to figure out what happened. I was ahead, Steve and Brian behind so no one actually saw him wreck. Our inital thought was that he came in too hot to the corner, it was a transition corner exiting a left and then going right, and swung too far left and got into the dirt. The strange thing is that there were no visibal skid marks. I guess we will never know for sure.
This was the third time I had ridden with Lee, the second time with Steve and a first for Brian. It was just a terrible day... Hopefully we will get in touch with his wife so we can pay our respects. I will keep this thread updated as long as necessary. I may post more details as I remember them but for me this is the first time I have lost a riding buddy. Too bad we had so few rides together....
Lee is survived by his wife and two children. Please send them your thoughts and prayers. RIP Lee.....
To make a rough day even rougher, another unexpected chain of events happened. Steve and I were talking last night and decided that we needed to get in touch with Lee's wife to tell the story and try to let her know he did not suffer. Steve found their address so we went over there about 8 pm to pay our respects.
As unbelieveable as it sounds, almost 8 hours after Lee passed, no one had told his family. Steve and I had the unfortunate task of doing so. It was another surreal event on top of a surreal day. Needless to say we spent the next few hours at his house while she called friends and family. It was a very hard thing to watch.
Directly experienceing the after effects of such a tragady is pretty unbelieveable. That's the only word I can come up with to explain it.
That's all I have for now. When I find out where the services are I will let everyone know, in case you want to send flowers or anything.
Thank you for everyone's support!!
Final update- 2/4/2009
Yesterday afternoon I talked to Lee's best friend Dave. Needless to say they are all still coming to terms with last weekend's tragic turn of events.
He informed me that he had the autopsy results and police investigation report. Lee passed away from a ruptured spleen incurred from the accident. The police report says speed was not to blame so there were some mitigating circumstances that contributed to the accident that were not readily apparent. Weather it was a distraction or something ran out in front of him we will never know.
As confirmed by Dave, Lee was a good rider and had been riding for a long time. Just another piece of information that makes this incident harder to accept.
Steve and I, and hopefully Brian, plan on finishing this ride in the next few weeks in Lee's honor. Weather permitting we are shooting for the weekend of the 21st. I will post details in the FJR Rides and Gatherings section as we get closer.
Ride safe out there. You just never know.....
Edited by Ignacio, 08 February 2009 - 10:30 PM.