Motorcycle group’s cross-country trek marred by accident on Interstate 30
Road debris causes crash; one flown to Tyler hospital

Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Paramedics and firefighters load a woman into the helicopter to be flown to East Texas Medical Center in Tyler after she and another man were injured during a motorcycle accident Saturday morning on Interstate 30.
Staff Photo By Angela Pitts

April 9, 2006 -- A Latin American motorcycle association's cross-country trip was marred Saturday morning after two of its members were injured in a crash Saturday morning on Interstate 30.

The man and woman were thrown from the bike after being hit by road debris, landing in the median between the east and westbound lanes of Interstate 30 just west of the U.S. Business 67 exit ramp. They were treated by local paramedics and firefighters, and the woman was then flown to East Texas Medical Center in Tyler.

The woman’s injuries were thought to be more serious. She landed in the soft, wet grass quite a distance from the bike. Paramedics left her helmet on and treated her for what likely was a broken foot or ankle and for more serious abrasions on her knee. The man sustained some facial and head lacerations but was not thought to have life-threatening injuries as he was sitting up and coherent.

The accident was reported to authorities around 9:30 a.m. Saturday by other members of the riding group. 

The leader of the group told authorities that the Latin American Motorcycle Association members had flown from Puerto Rico and other Latin American locales to cities such as Massachusetts and Chicago, where their bikes had been shipped. They began their long-distance ride in the northern cities, picking up more riders as they headed south to Mexico.

Upon passing the U.S. Business 67 exit on westbound I-30, they encountered debris in the road. Several riders had already dodged the large piece of tire, apparently shredded when a diesel had a blowout, on the outer edge of the westbound lane nearest the center median.

But the bike ahead of the injured pair struck the debris, causing it to flip up and strike them head-on.

According to a truck driver who was traveling east just ahead of the injured pair, the motorcycle skidded to the median and flipped several times, ejecting both riders before hitting the edge of the eastbound lane of I-30.

The truck driver slammed on his breaks and took evasive action, and radioed the truck driver behind him to warn of the crash. Fortunately, the other truck driver was able to pass on the right, and the bike skidded back  over into the ditch. 

Other riders stopped and called 911 to report the bike crash, as did the truck driver and other motorists.

The pair were first treated in the ambulance until a medical helicopter could be landed on westbound I-30 just in front of the ambulance. The woman was taken to ETMC in Tyler, according to helicopter medics.

Traffic on I-30 was routed on the north service road at the 67 exit, with traffic bottle-necked to one lane leading up to the exit and stalled between the exit and emergency vehicles at the crash scene. 

The other members of the riding group indicated they would be driving to Tyler to be with their injured traveling companions. No further information was available on the couple, who were believed to have flown from Puerto Rico to Massachusetts to begin the trip.

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