JASPER COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - What began as a day of patriotism and service ended in two serious accidents for an East Texas Christian motorcycle group. Saturday afternoon the pack of about 75 motorcycles departed for Rayburn Country to present U.S. Army Master Sergeant Andrew Primeaux with a flag of honor and to thank him for his service.
According to DPS spokesperson Stephanie Davis, Daniel Cross, 49, of Lufkin, was riding at the back of the pack because he was a novice driver. At 1:25 p.m., Cross came up on another motorcycle too fast and ended up flipping his own 2002 Harley Davidson, about three miles south of Huntington on U.S. 69.
Cross was flown to Good Shepherd Hospital in Longview with non-life threatening injuries.
According to KJAS.com, some of the riders were too upset to continue the ride, while the rest continued to Rayburn Country.
Another major accident, this time on FM 1007, prevented the group from making it all the way. A speeding Dodge Avenger, driven by Kaysie Lovaas, 21, of Brookland, slid into the back of a Dodge Caliber driven by Alvin Mundy, 65, of Broaddus, according to Trooper Scott Fulmer. Mundy was slowing down to yield to the westbound driving pack. Lovaas' speed prevented her from slowing down and to avoid the car in front of her.
Lovaas locked her brakes, causing her vehicle to slide into the Caliber, causing the vehicle into the lane the motorcycle pack was driving in, Fulmer said.
Lila Gaddy and Tracie Gonzales were struck by the vehicle. The two riders were flown separately from the scene. Gonzales was flown to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont and Gaddy to Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital.
"They had to put a rod, metal rod in her leg in the top part of her leg, her femur, her knee is destroyed pretty much and their trying to rebuild her knee," said Gonzales' sister Stacy Childres.
Now that Gonzales is in stable condition, she's being transferred to Memorial Hospital in Houston. Gaddy is still at Nacogdoches Memorial.
Lovaas had her three-year-old daughter in the car with her. Both are fine. Mundy had his wife, Susan, and six-year-old grandson in the vehicle. Mundy suffered a fractured neck and was taken to a Beaumont hospital. The passengers sustained injuries but are expected to recover.
"Group rides are dangerous but we do it for a reason. We're doing it to honor a soldier but all of us that were on that ride, it's touched a lot of lives it might be a while before I go on a group ride again and it may well be that was for some of them because to see this happen in front of you in my case it was seeing it in a mirror there's a lot of things going through my mind," said ride organizer Rick Schu.
Ride organizers completed their mission this afternoon, delivering the flag of honor to Master Sergeant Primeaux.